Securities Revenues Fall in Third Quarter

Profits are still up in the last seven of nine quarters, fueling optimism.

Securities firms showed profits of $3.0 billion in the third quarter of 2003, a 45 percent decline from the second quarter, according to the Securities Industry Association. A significant drop in trading revenue was responsible for the profit hit, according to Frank Fernandez of the SIA. However, that $3 billion number exceeds profits in seven of the past nine quarters, which Fernandez says is evidence that the industry is on the mend. From the vantage point of the broker/dealers, the third quarter was a decline from the second. Commission and fee revenues were down 1.7 percent from the year-ago period—to $6.53 billion from $6.65 billion in the second quarter. Interestingly, the revenues in this quarter were somewhat disparate. Large, independently-held U.S. brokerages fared well, while the subsidiaries of bank holding companies showed poorer results for the quarter. Overall, compensation for registered reps declined slightly from the year-ago period, dropping 0.8 percent to $5.57 billion in the second quarter. (This piece of data lags by a quarter.)

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