Morgan Stanley May Hold On To Prop. Desk

Feb 9 2011 | 11:42am ET

Morgan Stanley's last proprietary trading desk may become an in-house hedge fund. The Wall Street giant, which is spinning off its larger Process-Driven Trading desk by the end of next year, may transform its electronic trading desk, Equity Trading Lab, into a unit that manages money for outside clients.

Morgan Stanley and other banks have been scrambling to offload or close their prop. trading desks since the passage last year of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which bars banks from proprietary trading. Some firms, however, have chosen to hold on to some of their internal hedge fund or proprietary trading businesses by pulling their own money and seeking to raise outside capital for them.

ETL, which has earned Morgan Stanley about $100 million in revenue annually, employs fewer than 30 people, Bloomberg News reports, compared to the 60 who are expected to leave when PDT is spun-off. The group is currently headed by Peter Bolland, Daniel Ewig and Peter Fanelli, but was set up more than a decade ago by a group including Rohit D'Souza, who went on the serve as the first head of Citadel Investment Group's investment banking unit.

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