Updated Wednesday, July 30, 2014 as of 1:06 AM ET
- Wirehouses
Morgan Stanley Aims to Boost Profitability on Brokers' Pay Ratio, Commodities
by: Michael J. Moore
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Print
Email
Reprints
Partner Insights

(Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley will boost profitability as it pays brokers a smaller cut of revenue and the firm’s commodities business earns better returns following sales of two units, Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said.

The company, which earned a return on equity of about 5% each of the past two years, has a plan to “in 2015 and beyond, sustainably drive ROE at 10% or higher,” Gorman said yesterday at his bank’s investor conference in New York. He didn’t provide a return target for this year. Last year, he said the firm could post a 10% ROE by 2014 if regulators allowed it to return a “reasonable” amount of capital to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

Morgan Stanley’s shares jumped 64% last year as the company increased brokerage margins and equity-trading revenue. Gorman yesterday laid out the potential drivers of further growth in revenue and profitability, including additional lending, lower cost ratios and greater payouts of capital.

The bank will seek to lower the compensation-to-revenue ratio in its wealth-management unit to 55% or less from 58% in 2013, Gorman said. He also set targets of a 40% ratio for the New York-based firm’s investment bank and asset-management divisions.

Morgan Stanley’s commodities division eventually can more than double its return on equity from less than 5% in 2012 following sales of two oil businesses, he said. ROE is a measure of how well a firm reinvested profit to generate additional earnings.

The bank announced this week an agreement to sell its stake in oil-transportation company TransMontaigne Inc. to NGL Energy Partners LP for $200 million. Morgan Stanley agreed in December to sell its oil-merchanting business to Moscow-based OAO Rosneft.

Gorman said yesterday he expects the Rosneft deal to be completed in the third quarter. Bloomberg News reported in April that the two companies probably would wait to seek regulatory approval until political tensions cooled after the U.S. sanctioned Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, over the turmoil in Ukraine.

Get access to this article and thousands more...

All Financial Planning articles are archived after 7 days. REGISTER NOW for unlimited access to all recently archived articles, as well as thousands of searchable stories. Registered Members also gain access to exclusive industry white paper downloads, web seminars, blog discussions, the iPad App, CE Exams, and conference discounts. Qualified members may also choose to receive our free monthly magazine and any of our daily or weekly e-newsletters covering the latest breaking news, opinions from industry leaders, developing trends and growth strategies.

Already Registered?

Lists
2014 Summer Reading List for Advisors

Current Issue

The July Issue is now online!


TWITTER
FACEBOOK
LINKEDIN

Industry Events

August 10, 2014 |

September 9, 2014 |

September 17, 2014 |

September 20, 2014 |

September 28, 2014 |

Already a subscriber? Log in here