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Morgan Stanley Review

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Morgan Stanley, registered in 2009, serves 51 state(s) with a licensed staff of 20,400 advisors. Morgan Stanley manages $1.1 trillion and provides investment advisory services for 1,955,913 clients (1:96 advisor/client ratio).



Firm Information


Summary Firm
Minimum Investment Ask firm
Average Client Balance $550,123
Total AUM $1.1 trillion
Fee Range Ask firm
Advisor / Client Ratio 1:96
Languages Offered Ask firm
Specialities Ask firm
Website Visit Site
Phone Number 914-225-5510
Headquarters Purchase, NY
Locations See locations
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SEC Filings View SEC IAPD CRD #149777


Disciplinary Questions


After checking the disciplinary records of Morgan Stanley, our system has identified the following question(s) to ask. Learn more.


In the past 10 years, a domestic or foreign court has issued an injunction against Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate in connection with an investment-related activity.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate was previously found guilty of making false statements or omissions by the SEC, CFTC, or another regulatory agency or organization.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate was previously involved with violating a regulation or statute by a domestic or foreign court, the SEC, CFTC, or another regulatory body or commodities exchange.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate has previously been fined or ordered to cease and desist activity by the SEC or CFTC.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


The SEC, CFTC, or another regulatory agency has previously entered an order against Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate in connection with an investment-related activity.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


A regulatory agency has previously denied, suspended, or revoked your firm’s or an advisory affiliate’s registration or license or otherwise restricted their activities.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Morgan Stanley or one of its employees previously has been subject to a suspension or expulsion or other restriction of activities with a Self-Regulating Organization or commodities exchange.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Morgan Stanley or an advisory affiliate has previously had their authorization to act as an attorney, accountant, or federal contractor revoked or suspended.


What happened? When? How many times did it occur? Will anyone that was involved be involved with my accounts in any capacity?


Our system found no other disciplinary questions to ask. Checks take place monthly.



Conflict Questions


After checking the regulatory records of Morgan Stanley, our system has identified the following question(s) to ask. Learn more.


What percentage of income does Morgan Stanley receive from fees versus commissions?


Morgan Stanley can accept commissions for its investment advisory services. These commissions may be earned from the sale of investment or insurance products and are paid by the companies providing the products being sold. While this allows for a broader range of investment options and management styles a firm can offer, it can also create an incentive for the firm to put their financial interests ahead of your own. Is the firm’s purpose to provide you financial planning and ongoing advice or to sell commission-based products to its clients?


Is Morgan Stanley also a Broker-Dealer or are they affiliated with one? What conflicts arise from this relationship? How does Morgan Stanley mitigate them?


Currently Morgan Stanley is also a Broker-Dealer or is affiliated with one. When firms are dual-registered as broker-dealers, they may be subject to compensation-related conflicts of interest, including revenue sharing from mutual funds, cross-selling of commissioned insurance products, and the sale of proprietary investment products. All of these conflicts can negatively impact clients via hidden fees and overall higher costs.


Does Morgan Stanley offer mutual funds that have 12b-1 fees?


12b-1 fees increase the total annual cost of owning a mutual fund with no guarantee of higher returns. Some firms receive these fees as payments, which creates an incentive to promote them.


Regulatory disclosures state that Morgan Stanley sells proprietary investments and products. Please provide me a list of the products and a summary of how much Morgan Stanley earns from them.


Morgan Stanley recommends proprietary investments and products that could generate larger commissions than other similar non-proprietary products. This could also limit the number and diversity of investment options available to you and may impact their transferability. Do not be afraid to ask how much they will earn from the product or what other non-proprietary options are available.


Does Morgan Stanley offer products that have performance-based fees, or does it accept performance-based fees? Will any of my assets be invested in those products?


When performance-based fees are charged, the financial advisor is paid for outperforming a benchmark, typically an index. While this may seem like an attractive compensation structure to ensure your advisor is making your money work for you, often, the managers of those products are incentivized to take inappropriate risks to beat their performance benchmark. For instance, research has shown that mutual funds that use incentive fees take on more risk that funds that do not, and tend to double down and increase their risk following a poor performance. This could be detrimental to a client during down markets.


Does Morgan Stanley perform side-by-side management? How does Morgan Stanley mitigate conflicts that arise from managing accounts with differing fee structures?


This typically occurs when firms manage mutual funds or hedge funds alongside smaller retail accounts. Side-by-side management can create an incentive for the advisor to favor the larger funds, potentially leading to unequal trading costs and unfavorable trade executions for their retail clients.


Does Morgan Stanley recommend securities that it or its affiliates underwrite, or in which it serves as general or managing partner? Will any of my assets be invested in those products?


Morgan Stanley recommends securities that they may have recently taken public or otherwise have controlling interest over. This relationship could introduce bias where a firm and its advisors may push those products over others that may have a more favorable performance with which they are not affiliated.


Which securities does Morgan Stanley trade for itself that it will also be recommending to me?


Morgan Stanley has marked in their disclosures that they trade recommended securities. While this often can be seen as "eating your own cooking," there are several inherent conflicts that can arise. For example, front running is when a financial professional buys or sell securities ahead of their client. In short, any financial professional should disclose all positions they hold (or have sold short) that they will also be recommending to you.


Our system found no other conflict questions to ask. Checks take place monthly.



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Disciplinary History


An important aspect of the Trust Algorithm is processing the SEC Form ADV Part 1 filing of each Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). “Item 11 Disclosure Information” contains a list of valuable disclosures that are relevant for Americans.

As identified in SEC Form ADV Part 1, Item 11 “Disclosure Information”, the Trust Algorithm identified the following disciplinary disclosures for Morgan Stanley:




Cost


Unfortunately, there is no single, uniform pricing standard for working with a financial advisor. Catchphrases, including "fee-only," can be helpful; however, Americans often get confused with competitors promoting "fee-based" in response.

Ultimately, to understand the underlying costs of advisory services, we always recommend asking for an itemized fees breakdown and reading the firm's ADV Part 2 Brochure (Item 5, "Fees and Compensation").


View Fee Disclosures




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