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Morgan Stanley plans $500 million technology outlay

Attention likely put on 3D, the combined Morgan Stanley-Smith Barney platform

Jan 25, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

By Davis Janowski

The kludge that has resulted from combining the technology platforms of Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney into a single system, known as 3D, will receive additional attention this year from the fully merged firm, which plans to spend $500 million on technology over the next 18 months.

InvestmentNews received a copy of a memo that was sent to all Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Employees on Jan. 23 by the firm's brokerage president Gregory Fleming.

In a passage with the subhead “Platform Stability and Functionality,” Mr. Fleming wrote that the firm's most important objective “needs to be ensuring the system works efficiently every day, every time you log on.”

System instability has been pointed to as one of the chief irritants experienced and reported by brokers on an ongoing basis over the past year.

Mr. Fleming continued: “Clearly this presupposes minimal system slowness, freezing, and error messages.”

The additional technology investments would be in addition to “basic running costs” indicating additional development beyond normal operations, according to the document.

MSSB spokeswoman Christine Jockle confirmed the spending but declined to comment further.

My colleague Andrew Osterland and I have written about the 'teething pains' of the 3D platform for more than a year now.

Danny Sarch, founder of Leitner Sarch Consultants Ltd. and a regular contributor to InvestmentNews, has also written about the defections and has cited problems with the technology platform.

Related Stories:

MSSB's tech 'teething pains' a big headache for brokers

Now work really starts at MSSB

More teething pains as MSSB completes 3D rollout

Causes of tech snafu with MSSB 3D platform remain uncertain

Sarch: Behind the defection infection at MSSB

MSSB woes now in 3D

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