Morgan Stanley flies excessive on wealth administration

19 January, 2018, 02:03 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Reuters

Morgan Stanley reported $4.4 billion in revenue from wealth management during the fourth quarter - about half of all the money it brought in that period - and up 10 percent from the same time the year before.

Net income fell to $686 million or 29 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended December 31, from $1.67 billion or 81 cents per share, last year. Excluding the tax charges, the earnings rose to 84 cents a share, beating analysts' forecasts, from 74 cents. It was not immediately clear if the numbers were comparable. That's close to the 10 percent goal that the bank's management had set. Asset management revenues rose to $2.5 billion from $2.2 billion in the year-ago quarter. Shares of other major banks were flat on Thursday morning. With most expense cuts having already been made and an expected tax cut about to take hold, the question now is whether the bank can capitalize on fresh opportunities, such as bettering its institutional securities arm (which already includes a market-leading equities platform) and searching for growth in its investment-management division.

Trading revenue, which is traditionally Morgan Stanley's biggest source of income, fell 19.5 percent to $2.25 billion. Analysts were expecting $9.2 billion.

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But Morgan Stanley's net $1.2 billion loss on the new tax law - primarily from deferred tax assets that declined in value - came in below the $1.25 billion that analysts projected and well below its Wall Street counterparts.

Morgan Stanley's tax adjustment payment totalled just under $1.0 billion, once the tax change benefits were also factored in.

And while Morgan Stanley's bond trading revenue plunged 45 percent in the quarter, the business still delivered more than $1 billion in average quarterly revenue for the full year.

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Excluding the tax charge, its return on equity was 9.4 percent a year ago. Gorman has said the business needs to generate at least that much to be sustainable. Previous year it posted an efficiency ratio of 72.6 percent.

Tax overhaul charges have crimped fourth-quarter results for most big banks.

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