Morgan Stanley is going after a $500 billion opportunity

Morgan Stanley financial advisers, on average, are set to bring in over $US1 million in revenues each in 2017.

That’s a nearly 67% increase from the average revenues per financial advisers in 2010. But recent growth is not enough for the bank. It is setting its sights even higher, and has targeted a half a trillion dollar opportunity.

In a presentation to investors on Tuesday June 13, Naureen Hassan, the bank’s chief digital officer for wealth management, outlined how new digital offerings will draw clients from one of its key businesses to its wealth management business.

Morgan Stanley is one of the largest administrators of company stock plans. In fact, the bank holds the stock plans of about 20% of Fortune 500 companies, according to Hassan. But the bank’s wealth-management division has been largely focused on winning business with those in the C-suite, not those only their way to the C-suite. Hassan sees a $US528 billion opportunity in bringing those execs onto the Morgan Stanley wealth management platform.

The effort to win the money of these more junior executives is part of a broader push to use technology to win more business and increase productivity in the wealth-management division.

According to Hassan, the advisers who spend more time engaging with clients and less time completing tasks that can easily be automated have experienced the greatest revenue growth. As such, she sees digitization as the best way to attract more clients.

“We see the opportunity to use technology to take these best practices from our fastest growing teams and apply them across our adviser network,” Hassan said.

The US bank’s wealth-management business partnership with Twilio to enable financial advisers to text their clients is one example of how the firm is digitising its infrastructure to win over clients. The plan is for a machine-learning engine to eventually suggest text messages to financial advisers, allowing them to tailor, approve, or reject the suggested communication. There will be enhanced social-media support and video-chat in the coming months, too.

The partnership is part of Morgan Stanley’s broader tech strategy. The bank last week hosted its annual CTO Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley with about 65 existing vendors, and 85 startups including Twilio were invited to attend.

“There is no one technology or trend that’s going to disrupt the industry,” Shawn Melamed, who leads Morgan Stanley’s strategic technology partnerships, said. “It’s the combination and collaboration of a host of technologies and services.”

Matt Turner contributed reporting.

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