E*Trade Financial Corp. today said it is ending its institutional trading services as part of the online brokers efforts to improve its balance sheet following subprime and asset-backed financial losses.
In a statement, E*Trade executives said they reached the decision to fully exit the institutional trading business by closing its remaining institutional trading desk, which will impact fewer than 30 employees. E*Trade closed its international institutional business last September.
As part of the reorganization, E*Trade also sold $3 billion in mortgage-backed securities and municipal bonds and plans to drastically lower its real estate portfolio. The online broker said it can meet capital requirements, following a combined $2.5 billion cash investment from hedge fund Citadel Investment Group and asset manager BlackRock in November.