Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors Doing More With Less

Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors Doing More With Less

Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors Doing More With Less
By Will Ashworth

The brokerage firm’s 16,162 financial advisors set a record in the third quarter with each advisor generating $932,000 on an annualized basis. This despite the firm cutting headcount by 1% in Q3 and 2% year-over-year. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat stated, “Our wealth-management business continues to have momentum with growing profitability from the secular trend toward managed money.”

Although Morgan Stanley productivity increased by 10% over the same quarter from a year earlier and 3% over Q2, its numbers were still lower than other traditional wirehouses such as Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management at $1.08 million and $1.07 million respectively. Morgan Stanley might have the largest number of advisors but it’s got some work to do if it wants to catch Merrill and company.

The productivity numbers in Canada aren’t as easily obtained as those in the U.S. but it makes sense that headcount trends north of the border are following a similar path. According to PriceMetrix’s 4th Annual State of the Retail Wealth Management, the average advisor in North America generated $578,000 in 2013. This number includes wirehouses, financial planners, etc.; PriceMetrix found no discernible difference between the two markets.   

So the question for advisors is: Are you worried about the trend towards fewer advisors handling a larger piece of the revenue pie? Or is this a great opportunity for your business?

Feel free to email me with your thoughts or comment below.