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Portfolio > Portfolio Construction

Morgan Stanley Unveils New Advisory Platform

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Morgan Stanley’s New York headquarters (Photo: Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley is rolling out a new advisor platform, WealthDesk, for its 15,000-plus advisors and brokers as part its evolving digital strategy.

“It’s very easy to make the mistake that what we’re launching is just another tool to help advisors,” an executive at the firm told the media. “Because it is that, and it certainly will help advisors and it will help our clients, but it’s really a part of this ongoing technology strategy and overall firm strategy.”

According to the executive, Morgan Stanley is “intentionally spending more money than a lot of the other firms” have because the firm believes the future of wealth is the combination of advisors and best-in-class technology.

The Morgan Stanley executive would not say how much the firm was spending on technology, but said it was a “big number” with “lots of commas.”

The new advisory platform, which was developed in-house, provides a consolidated view of client relationships and portfolios and integrates planning, advice and implementation — all on one dashboard.

To do this, Morgan Stanley overhauled its advisory platforms and merged many applications.

Advisors don’t have to immediately make a full switch to WealthDesk, although a Morgan Stanley executive said he thinks WealthDesk will be advisors’ preferred way to operate in two years.

There are four key areas of the new WealthDesk platform:

Portfolio Advice

WealthDesk integrates Morgan Stanley’s Goals Planning System (GPS) platform with portfolio construction, which allows goals to be integrated with investment advice seamlessly. Analytics will help determine funding status, probability of success and downside risk.

Portfolio Risk

The new advisor platform also integrates with the firm’s new Portfolio Risk Platform, which is powered by Alladin, the risk analytics platform that Morgan Stanley partnered with BlackRock to deliver. This platform offers a full suite of risk analytics so advisors can solve risk and see the impact of portfolio changes before they’re made.

Relationship Fee Implementation

The advisory free calculator helps advisors establish a pricing strategy that is aligned to the value delivered — and consistently applied — across the client relationship using integrated tools.

Client Playback

A new consolidated summary tool provides clients with a holistic view of their plans and portfolios each quarter. The playback eliminates certain repetitive communications while delivering advice in a reporting format consistent with how advisors view their client — as a single relationship rather than individual accounts. This summary can also show progress towards goals, whether on or off track, if the client is enrolled in GPS monitoring.

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