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Morgan Stanley to Jump Into ETF Market

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What You Need to Know

  • The wirehouse's ETF platform will launch later this year.
  • It says the platform will “support ETFs across businesses, asset classes, jurisdictions and brands.”
  • Several holdouts have entered the ETF arena in recent years.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management plans to introduce its own exchange-traded funds this year.

The firm has made a “strategic decision to launch an ETF platform in 2022,” said Dan Simkowitz, managing director and head of asset management at the wirehouse, in an internal memo, shared with ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday.

He said a “first class ETF platform will further enable” Morgan Stanley to match its “investment capabilities with the diverse set of investment vehicles our clients increasingly demand.”

As the popularity of ETFs has continued to climb, several firms have entered the segment over the past couple of years, leaving few holdouts remaining.

Capital Group, one of the last major holdouts among asset managers, took the plunge in February, launching six actively managed ETFs on the New York Stock Exchange.

Morgan Stanley plans to offer a “multi-asset ETF platform that covers active and systematic strategies,” Simkowitz said, noting the offerings “will also complement our leadership in separately managed accounts,” the “mutual fund history at MSIM and Eaton Vance and our private fund platform that now has more than $200 billion in alternatives capital for clients.”

As part of the new initiative, Anthony Rochte is joining the firm as global head of ETFs and will report to Anton Kuzmanov, global head of product development at MSIM, while Allyson Wallace is joining as global head of ETF Capital Markets for the platform and will report to Rochte, Simkowitz said.

Rochte and Wallace each have “extensive experience in the development, oversight and execution of ETFs at prominent asset management firms and will play a critical role in setting the direction of the platform,” Simkowitz said. Rochte was “instrumental in the development of the ETF market,” according to Simkowitz.

Rochte last served as managing director and co-head of Goldman Sachs Private Bank Select, while Wallace was iShares head of fixed income product architecture and platform at BlackRock, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

“Under Tony and Ally’s leadership, we will develop a robust ETF platform that supports ETFs across businesses, asset classes, jurisdictions and brands,” according to Simkowitz. “We will share further updates on this critical new initiative in the coming months.”

News of Morgan Stanley’s ETF plan was first reported by InvestmentNews on Tuesday morning.

Pictured: Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York. (Photo: Bloomberg)