March 20, 2018 / 3:45 PM / a year ago

Morgan Stanley wealth customers bring more assets to bank: executive

The Morgan Stanley logo is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is starting to see some wealth management customers bring assets into the bank that they had held at other firms, President Colm Kelleher said on Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley’s retail investors have put most of their cash balances at the bank to work in the market, and are bringing more money into those accounts, Kelleher said at a financial industry conference in London.

“They’re bringing money from other sources into Morgan Stanley to invest,” he said, “so I don’t know if that means they’re fully invested, or whether we’re getting more share of their business.”

In the first two months of the year, which were marked by bursts of volatility, Morgan Stanley’s wealth unit posted “very high” revenue from accounts whose customers pay per trade rather than a flat fee, he added. That activity has since trailed off.

Kelleher did not provide figures to support his comments.

Wealth management has been a bright spot for Morgan Stanley, helping to offset declines in businesses like bond trading under a business plan outlined by Chief Executive James Gorman several years ago.

Kelleher, who ran Morgan Stanley’s trading business before taking on his current role, predicted that first-quarter trading across Wall Street will likely be flat compared to a year ago.

Reporting by Catherine Ngai; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang

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