Morgan Stanley Streamlines Advisor Structure

Wirehouse trims the number of advisor divisions and regions after Shelley O’Connor assumes leadership

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. (Photo: AP) Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. (Photo: AP)

Morgan Stanley’s (MS) wealth management operations are being restructured by the recently appointed head of its advisor force.

Shelley O’Connor — tapped by Morgan Stanley to lead its advisor force in February — said in a memo Tuesday, “We will go from three divisions to two and from 12 regions to eight. The number of complexes and branches will remain the same."

O’Connor, 53, replaced Doug Ketterer, who was appointed head of strategy and client management. They both report to Greg Fleming, the leader of Morgan Stanley’s wealth and investment management businesses. The company's chairman and CEO is James Gorman.

“Over the past six weeks, I have been out in the branches, hearing firsthand what’s working and what needs improvement,” she noted in the memo. “It is clear that empowering local managers, working more efficiently and supporting growth must be among our key priorities.”

Bill McMahon and Rick Skae are staying on as division directors, in the West and East, respectively. The other division director, Doug Kentfield, is leaving the firm.

“We thank him for his leadership during his 27 years with the firm and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said O’Connor. 

Jeff Adams, John Campbell, Kevin Forman and Matthew Maloney, whose regional leadership roles have been eliminated “will explore new leadership roles within wealth management,” she adds.

The new field structure at Morgan Stanley will be put in place at the end of May.

Other changes include the following:

  • Mandell Crawley will remain head of business development and will be put in charge of field-talent development, including advisor-recognition activities;
  • Barry Goldstein will become chief operating officer, with responsibility for business management, recruiting and advisor compensation; and
  • Lisa Golia remains chief administrative officer and also will work with the wirehouse’s technology group on further development of its 3D brokerage IT platform (introduced in 2012).

“Our first investments in new branch resources will include enhanced team development support, more assistant complex managers and expanded private banking resources — with more to come. In addition, we will continue to invest in technology to drive service efficiencies in the branch,” O’Connor concluded in her memo.

As of Dec. 31, Morgan Stanley had 16,456 advisors. The reps had average client assets of $116 million, and average annualized revenues per advisor of $905,000 vs. $848,000 in Q3’13.

 
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