Morgan Stanley laying off hundreds in wealth management unit -WSJ

Feb 15, 2024

By Mehnaz Yasmin

(Reuters) -Investment banking giant Morgan Stanley is planning to cut hundreds of jobs in its wealth management unit, according to a person familiar with the matter, the latest in a string of layoffs that Wall Street firms have undertaken since last year.

The cuts will impact less than 1% of the division’s employees, the person said, requesting anonymity.

While hopes of a soft landing for the economy have grown in recent months, companies are still looking to trim costs amid uncertainty around the trajectory of interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In the last quarter, revenue from Morgan Stanley’s wealth management unit was flat compared to a year earlier, and the medium-term margin forecast for the business was below what some analysts had expected.

The wealth management unit became an important moneymaker for the bank after it clinched major acquisitions, including Eaton Vance and E*Trade, under former CEO James Gorman.

The unit has helped make Morgan Stanley less dependent on its traditional mainstays of trading and investment banking, revenues from which can be volatile.

Last month, the bank’s new CEO Ted Pick reiterated the target, set by Gorman, of reaching $10 trillion in assets under management.

The workforce reduction would be one of the first significant moves by Pick, who took over the helm at the beginning of this year.

The bank had nearly 80,000 employees as of the end of last year, its latest quarterly report showed.

Morgan Stanley’s job cut plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The bank declined to comment.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shinjini Ganguli)

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