Morgan Stanley to Shutter Russian FX and Equities Trading Desks

US sanctions are the likely reason behind the American firm's decision.

Reports on Thursday indicate that investment banking giant Morgan Stanley is going to be shutting down its currency and equities trading and sales desks in Russia in the near future.

Bloomberg’s Jake Rudnitsky posted an article on Thursday, quoting unnamed sources, who said that the American firm would be moving a number of people to their London office, with a number of positions cut entirely.

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According to Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley has forty people on its trading and sales desks in its equities and FX divisions.

“Morgan Stanley remains committed to Russia,” said the company in a statement, “and will maintain our longstanding on-the-ground presence in Moscow and ensure that our clients in Russia continue to benefit from the capabilities of the firm, in particular as it relates to investment banking and global capital markets.”

Morgan Stanley – not immune to sanctions

The bank’s decision to reduce its presence in Russia almost certainly stems from sanctions, imposed by the US and European Union, since its annexation of Crimea in late 2014.

Despite allegations that he was helped to victory by Vladimir Putin’s government, Donald Trump has actually continued to put pressure on Russia’s economy.

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In August, for example, the Trump administration put sanctions on Russia that restrict access to US credit and other forms of financial assistance. The measures also prohibit the export to Russia of certain goods and forms of technology.

Since 2014, a number of major banks have taken steps to reduce their presence in the country, with both Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse reducing the size of their operations in Moscow over the past couple of years.

Alongside those sanctions, the Rouble has lost almost half of its value since it invaded Crimea. Markets have been fairly stable since the country’s central bank increased interest rates in September of this year, but fears of even more sanctions continue to cause uncertainty in Moscow.

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