Morgan Stanley postpones comp changes as advisors face coronavirus, market volatility

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Morgan Stanley advisors are getting some relief as the coronavirus stresses markets, economies and workplaces.

The firm is delaying some forthcoming compensation changes for its 2020 pay plan in recognition of the “enormous challenges” advisors are facing during a time of extreme market volatility and a global pandemic. Some of the now-postponed changes could have required some advisors to generate more revenue to earn the same pay.

It’s yet another sign of how the coronavirus has forced firms to readjust plans and operations.

Morgan Stanley told its nearly 15,000 advisors, who are largely working remotely at the moment, that it would postpone to Oct. 1 planned increases in the revenue thresholds used to determine incentive compensation under its pay grid.

Morgan Stanley, which unveiled the comp plan changes late last year, had intended on increasing thresholds on its grid below the $5 million mark by approximately 10%. The policy change was notable at the time because grid threshold changes infrequently. The last time Morgan Stanley had made such a change was 2017.

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Morgan Stanley also told advisors Friday it is leaving some incentives in place, such as the net acquired assets credit enhancement. A spokeswoman confirmed the changes.

“We know that you are facing enormous challenges personally and professionally while at the same time taking great care of your clients in a very difficult environment,” Vince Lumia, head of field management, told advisors Friday.

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