Morgan Stanley Gives Reps the OK to Text Clients

The wirehouse rolls out a compliant text-messaging program with Twilio and launches a sustainable investing course

Morgan Stanley building in New York. (Photo: AP) Morgan Stanley building in New York. (Photo: AP)

On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley gave its 15,777 advisors the ability to work with clients via text messaging. It also rolled out an online course in sustainable investing.

The wirehouse’s texting plan is part of its broader digital strategy and is facilitated by its partnership with Twilio, which will archive the messages.

“Interactions between financial advisors and clients should be easy and reflect how people communicate in other aspects of their lives. In response to one of the top requests from our financial advisors, we are enabling them to make more convenient and effective connections with clients where they communicate most,” said Naureen Hassan, chief digital officer of Morgan Stanley, in a statement.

The wirehouse says it is in the process of introducing the texting capabilities to its advisors. Next, it will add other applications and functions, such as video technology for reps to use when contacting clients.

"Twilio has been at the forefront of providing businesses with the scalable technology they need to better interact with their clients, and this partnership demonstrates how we can help highly regulated industries effectively engage clients,” said Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO, co-founder and chairman, in a statement.

“With the accelerating growth of new communications channels through which clients prefer to interact, Twilio’s APIs allow institutions to adapt to their clients’ needs,” Lawson said.

Sustainable Schooling

In other news, Morgan Stanley says it is introducing e-learning programs focused on sustainable and impact investing. The firm developed the curriculum with the Institute for Sustainable Investing.

“Our objective was quite bold – to be a catalyst in driving adoption of sustainable investing by our financial advisors and to provide every client who desires it an opportunity to invest in alignment with their values and impact objectives,” said Lily Trager, director of Investing with Impact and head of Impact Solutions for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

A 2016 survey sponsored by Morgan Stanley found that 55% of high-net-worth individuals overall and 80% of HNW millennials are interested in sustainable investing.

In addition, close to two-thirds of asset management professionals surveyed by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Bloomberg L.P. practice sustainable investing at their firms.

 “As sustainable investing demand continues to gain momentum, it is imperative that today’s financial advisors are equipped with the knowledge to help clients make appropriate investment choices,” explained Hilary Irby, managing director and co-head of Global Sustainable Finance for the firm, in a statement.

--- Check out Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for Advisors on ThinkAdvisor.

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