Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. said Thursday that it may consider layoffs as it looks to cut costs amid continuing market volatility.
The New York financial services giant employs over 60,000 worldwide.
A long list of financial companies have looked to trim costs while struggling with a slowdown in equity underwriting and investing and a sputtering economy. Morgan unveiled its review just days after New York-based Bear Stearns & Co. said it plans to lay off several hundred people.
We are of course reviewing expense and headcount issues in light of current market conditions on a business-by-business and region-by-region basis, said Judy Hitchen, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley.
A report published Thursday indicated Morgan was looking to cut 7% to 10% of jobs across the company. However, Ms. Hitchen said, We have no across-the-board plans.
She declined to comment further, citing regulations that bar statements on performance-related issues in the period between the close of the fiscal first quarter and earnings announcements. Morgan Stanleys first-quarter earnings are scheduled for release March 21.
Mark Constant, an equity analyst for Lehman Brothers in San Francisco, said Morgan Stanleys announcement was hardly surprising.
I think everyone is reviewing their costs, he said. I think the market environment is grim for everyone.
However, according to Mr. Constant, most investment banks usually see about 5% natural attrition on an annual basis when people leave or are encouraged to leave every year when performance-related bonuses are handed out.
Morgan Stanley ranked second in U.S. equity underwriting last year behind Goldman Sachs Group, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data.
Globally, Morgan came in third in the equity underwriting rankings behind Goldman and Merrill Lynch & Co. Both Goldman and Merrill have already announced job cuts.
On Thursday, Morgan Stanleys stock fell 3.55% to $66.75 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.