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First Canadian Place at right and TD Bank Towers centre and left. File photos of downtown Toronto's financial district and area taken at night on Oct 27 2011.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Tough times in the securities business? For shareholders of Toronto-Dominion Bank, not so much, as the bank's results signal that firms that have the ability to do more than finance miners and handle mergers can still bring in a lot of cash.

For employees, it may be a bit of a different story. Even as TD's revenue in the securities business rose, the bank cut expenses.

TD Securities smoked past analysts' expectations for the unit's money-making ability, thanks in large part to the bond desk.

Net income for the wholesale banking business (the way the bank reports its TD Securities income) came in at $220-million, up from $197-million the year before and roughly 10 per cent higher than the $198-million forecast by Peter Routledge of National Bank Financial.

Trading revenue of $353-million soared past analyst estimates in the low $300-million range. Mr. Routledge expected $304-million. Rob Sedran of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce forecast $310-million.

That more than offset a soft quarter in mergers and underwriting.

The other number that jumps out in TD's wholesale results is the 2.3-per cent decline in non-interest expenses, which at a securities firm includes payroll as one of its biggest components. That means TD reduced costs even as overall revenue increased, to $643-million from $608-million.

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