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Morgan Stanley Profits Drop 14%: Q2 Earnings

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Morgan Stanley (MS) reported a 14% drop year over year in second-quarter profits on Wednesday. Its results, which beat analysts’ estimates, were $1.43 billion, or $0.75 per share, vs. $1.67 billion, or $0.85 per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue declined 9% from Q2’15 to $8.9 billion. Results were weaker in its three main business units: Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management.

“Our results this quarter reflect solid performance in an improved but still fragile environment,” said CEO James Gorman, in a statement. “In the midst of market uncertainty, we maintained our leadership positions across our core franchises and continued our focus on prudent risk management and judicious expense control.”

Wealth Management had net revenue of $3.8 billion, down 2% from a year before. Its pretax earnings were $859 million, 3% weaker than in Q2’15, while its after-tax earnings were $516 million – a drop of 8% from the prior-year quarter.

Its pre-tax profit margin was 23%, the same as Q2’15 and up from 21% Q1’16. Gorman has said the unit is expected to produce a pretax margin of 23% to 25% for full-year 2017.

As for the number of advisors, the group has some 15,909 reps vs. 15,888 in the prior period and 15,771 in the year-ago quarter.

Total client loan balances were $69 billion as of June 30. Fee-based assets hit $820 billion in the most recent quarter, with asset flows of $12 billion.

Morgan Stanley advisors have average annual fees and commissions of $959,000, which is lower than $987,000 in Q2’15 but higher than $923,000 in the first quarter.

Average assets per rep stand at $128 million, down slightly from $129 million a year ago but up from $126 million in Q1’16.