Exclusive: Morgan Stanley cuts bankers, bonuses as deals, IPOs stall - sources

Morgan Stanley laid off a number of senior investment bankers last week and cut bonuses by roughly 15 percent because of a decline in revenue from dealmaking and capital raising across Wall Street, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Individual bankers were awarded different amounts depending on performance and geographic region, though many received a smaller paycheck for 2016, said the sources on Thursday, who were not authorized to discuss compensation publicly.

Morgan Stanley, which ranked fourth for investment banking fees last year, cut more than 20 managing directors from its investment banking division globally, representing about 5 percent of the total, the sources said.

While the bank typically lets go of the bottom 5 percent of its workforce at year-end to get rid of underperformers, the cuts to senior bankers were deeper than in years past, according to the sources.

Morgan Stanley also announced the promotion of managing directors on Thursday.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment. The bank will offer more details about staffing and compensation next Tuesday, when it reports earnings.

Wall Street banks have been cutting staff and curbing compensation for years to cut costs. They have also lost top talent to boutique firms, which are not subject to the same regulatory pressure felt by big banks and can pay a greater portion of compensation in cash.

Global investment banking fees across Wall Street declined 7 percent in 2016 to a three-year low, according to Thomson Reuters data. Those figures include advising companies on mergers and acquisitions as well as raising debt and equity.

Equity capital market fees, which declined 23 percent, showed the biggest drop of all banking activities as a result of a dearth of initial public offerings. IPOs occurred at the lowest levels since 2009.

Merger activity also slowed from record levels in 2015, with global deal volume falling 17 percent.

Morgan Stanley's global investment banking fees dropped 13.3 percent to $4.5 billion.

(Reporting by Liana Baker in San Francisco and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra)