Morgan Stanley studies thousands of layoffs-report

Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:46pm EDT

* Fox says firm runs layoff scenarios

* Spokeswoman denies major layoff plans for now

* Financial advisers previously targeted

NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) might lay off more workers than the few hundred underperforming financial advisers it previously said were at risk of being fired, according to Fox Business Network.

The news network said Morgan Stanley could cut "possibly thousands of jobs," citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

"We are constantly evaluating the market conditions to ensure we are right sized," Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Mary Claire Delaney wrote in an e-mailed statement. "We have said we currently have no plans for a major (reduction in workforce) other than 300 or so underperforming FAs, and that remains the case."

Banks with big Wall Street trading operations have been scrutinizing their staffing levels to cut costs in a weak trading environment. Morgan Stanley has been building out its fixed-income division in an effort to gain market share that had contracted in the days leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Morgan Stanley, the only major Wall Street bank that books more than 40 percent of its revenue from retail brokerage, had 62,494 employees as of March 31. Its wealth management area burgeoned in 2009 when James Gorman, now chief executive of the firm and the former head of Merrill Lynch's retail brokerage division, arranged for a controlling interest in Citigroup's Smith Barney business.

Morgan Stanley laid off about 300 financial advisers in the first quarter of 2011.

Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat recently said it may bring wealth management staffing levels down further as the bank further integrates Smith Barney and cuts overlap.

The Fox Business Network report did not say which division would be targeted by potential layoffs.

(Reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra; edited by Jed Horowitz)

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