UPDATE 1-Morgan Stanley Steps away from return target timeframe

Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:10am EDT

(Adds details on timing for profitability targets)

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley is not committed to a timeframe for hitting a minimum return target for shareholders, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

"We don't have a timeline" on reaching a previously announced target of a 10 percent return on equity, a measure of how profitably banks can make use of shareholder funds. Porat added that the Wall Street bank is "moving nicely" towards meeting that goal.

That seemed to differ from previous guidance from Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman, who had said at the company's May 2013 annual meeting that it would hit its 10 percent return on equity target some time in 2014.

Porat also said that Morgan Stanley reduced its fixed-income risk-weighted assets by 5.0 percent in the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on Thursday.

The Wall Street bank had $199 billion of those assets according to Basel 3 capital measurements as of March 31, down from $210 billion in the prior quarter, Porat said in an interview.

Morgan Stanley is working toward a goal of having less than $180 billion of risk-weighted fixed-income assets by 2015 in order to free up capital. (Reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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