Morgan Stanley managers depart amid reorg

Some high-level executives depart as firm restructures its managed-account unit, and streamlines products and services staff

Aug 25, 2014 @ 11:01 am

By Mason Braswell

A number of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management directors have left the firm amid a reorganization of the managed-accounts unit and streamlining of operations, according to sources familiar with the moves.

Several of the higher-profile departures, which occurred last month, affected the firm's consulting group. The unit, which is led by Jim Tracy, is responsible for the firm's fast-growing managed-accounts programs. Fee-based assets accounted for 38% of the total $2 trillion in client assets as of June 30, up 21% from the same time last year.

Many of the departures were tenured managers who had ties to Smith Barney.

Nicholas Angilletta, a managing director and director of the consulting group and capital markets sales strategy at Morgan Stanley, and former head of Smith Barney Equity Capital Markets, left as part of the restructuring, sources said. Patrick Schussman, a divisional director for the consulting group on the West Coast, also left the firm.

Both declined to comment.

Glenn Regan, another managing director who lists himself on LinkedIn as director of discretionary investment solutions, also left, sources said.

Some management roles were consolidated as the firm “decentralized” leadership in the consulting group, according to spokesman Jim Wiggins.

Mr. Wiggins said that the firm also was adding 24 regional roles for internal wholesalers and analysts who help advisers select money managers, so the reorganization would result in a “net addition of personnel” in the consulting group.

He added that some of the managers were offered other positions within the firm but chose not to take them.

“There is no cost cutting in consulting,” Mr. Wiggins said. “It's putting support people close to the financial advisers and clients.”

Departures also affected other divisions in the wealth management unit, including field leadership positions for the firm's adviser force of 16,300, sources said.

Kevin Riley, a legacy Smith Barney Inc. manager who sources said ran the technology platform at Smith Barney and helped oversee a challenging technology conversion at Morgan Stanley, also left the firm.

Mr. Wiggins confirmed that Mr. Riley had left the firm, but declined to comment on that move specifically.

“We're constantly evaluating staffing levels across all support areas,” Mr. Wiggins said. “There's nothing here in the way of significant across-the-board layoffs.”

The shifts come as executives say the firm has moved from stages of “fragility” and “healing,” following acquisition of Smith Barney, into a new phase called “performance and growth,” which aims to boost earnings by focusing on efficiencies.

Morgan Stanley's chief executive, James Gorman, outlined the stage in a presentation earlier this summer. He has said the firm is aiming for a 22% to 25% pretax profit margin by the end of next year, up from around 21% in the second quarter.

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