Displaying items by tag: Morgan Stanley
Ever since the big stock rally of a couple of weeks ago, the predominant mood of Wall Street analysts has been decidedly bearish. Most big research teams have said markets have further to fall before they hit bottom. However, Morgan Stanley has just come out with a contrarian opinion. Commenting that “the worst is behind us”, the bank says it is time for investors to jump back into stocks in a big way. Summarizing their view, the bank said “With the forced liquidation of assets in the past month largely behind us, unprecedented and unbridled monetary and fiscal intervention led by the U.S. and the most attractive valuation we have seen since 2011, we stick to our recent view that the worst is behind us for this cyclical bear market that began two years ago, not last month”.
FINSUM: The worst of the health crisis is still ahead of us, but it could be the case that the worst of the asset selloff is over. Our lingering worry about this is that a mortgage crisis could be brewing as a result of the stop in the flow of money, so we are worried about another sharp downturn in coming months.
Morgan Stanley was due to make some big pay changes for advisors starting April 1st. The changes would mean a reduction in compensation for similar production levels. However, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak, the firm has said it is pushing the implementation date for the changes back to October 1st. Directly addressing the firms 15,000+ advisors, the head of field management said “We know that you are facing enormous challenges personally and professionally while at the same time taking great care of your clients in a very difficult environment”.
FINSUM: These changes are tough to begin with, and doing them right now would have been downright draconian (and might have caused some extra departures).
The forecasts for growth have been reverberating through markets. When this whole crisis started, Goldman Sachs initially said there would be a 5% drop in GDP in the second quarter. Oh how delightful that sounds now. Things have escalated considerably since then. Here is a smattering of various Q2 GDP forecasts: Goldman Sachs at 24% decline, Morgan Stanley at 30%, and the St. Louis Fed at a whopping 50% decline.
FINSUM: We think it is safe to assume that the GDP decline in Q2 is going to massive. So much so that the actual figure matters much less than the pace at which the economy bounces back thereafter. Is it going to be a V-shaped recovery, or a U, or the dreaded “L-shaped” recovery?
Morgan Stanley’s earnings this week were an absolute blow out for the Street. The bank beat all expectations and performed exceptionally well. For us, the earnings really feel like a salute to the whole wealth management industry, as it was Morgan Stanley’s pivot to focus more on that business that has made it the reliable earnings machine that it has become. Revenue from wealth management accounted for around 40% of the whole bank’s revenues, and was up 11% on the year.
FINSUM: Wealth management is a rock solid and capital light business, and MS’ earnings are a testament to that. Gorman’s choice to focus on this segment of their business a few years ago was a very smart one.
One thing about the wealth management landscape that has never made much sense is how JP Morgan is not early as big a player as one might expect given the overall strength of its brand. Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch hog all the AUM and attention, with JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs mostly on the outside looking in. Well, that may be about to change, as JP Morgan is now planning some big changes to its wealth management business. According to the WSJ “The bank is creating a unit that will combine its U.S. wealth-management operations for affluent clients and the Chase branch network’s financial-advisory business”.
FINSUM: This sounds like a plan to go after mass market wealth management like Morgan Stanley or the Thundering Herd. Could be a big play.