BB&T cuts jobs as it exits equity research, curtails trading activity

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BB&T Securities is ending its equity research coverage and curtailing institutional sales and trading activity, eliminating at least 61 jobs as part of an overall restructuring within its equity capital markets and related operations.

Employees of the BB&T Corp . unit were notified Wednesday about the restructuring, which is largely concentrated at the company's Richmond, Virginia, office. There also are cuts made in other offices, the company said in a statement.

"We recognize this is a challenging time for the affected associates and their families and we're making every effort to place them into other positions," BB&T spokesman Brian Davis said in an emailed statement. "Severance packages and outplacement services will be offered."

The spokesman said the moves were a response to the "changing market conditions" within the equity trading business, which included reduced volume and compressed margins.

"As a regional advisory firm, we're taking the opportunity to refocus our business model to further grow the debt capital markets, capital markets advisory, M&A and private client advisory platforms," he added.

Last week, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company reported record revenues for its second quarter, helped by several acquisitions, including National Penn and Swett & Crawford.

During an earnings conference call, BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King said the company was "intensely focused on expenses."

"We've been focusing for a number of years, as you've heard me describe, about reconceptualization of our business. That continues, but I would say to you, it continues at a much more intense rate," he said.

The financial services holding company has more than $222 billion in assets, and operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia, providing consumer and commercial banking services, as well as mortgage and insurance products. At the end of last year, it employed about 37,200 employees, according to a 10-K filing.

BB&T said it expects "minimal effects" to its other equity capital markets services, which include equity syndicate, at-the-market ATM offerings, and share repurchases.

In afternoon trading, BB&T shares are down fractionally. The stock is down about 2 percent so far this year, lagging the broader market but it has started to perform better in the past month.

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