Morgan Stanley Q3 results falls short

Morgan Stanley’s third-quarter results have disappointed investors as the bank faced challenges in its investment banking division, wealth management, and uncertainty regarding CEO succession. Here’s a breakdown of the key points from the report:

Weak Investment Banking Revenues: The bank saw a 27% drop in investment banking revenues compared to the previous year. This decline was attributed to a slowdown in dealmaking as geopolitical risks increased and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates.

Underperformance in Wealth Management: The wealth management division experienced a decrease in net new assets, which shrank from $64.8 billion a year earlier to $35.7 billion. Rising interest rates led clients to opt for money market funds over wealth management portfolios.

Lack of CEO Succession Announcement: CEO James Gorman, who has been at the helm of Morgan Stanley since 2010, announced in May that he would step down within a year. However, there was no announcement regarding his successor in the recent report.

Profit Decline: Morgan Stanley’s profit dropped by approximately 9% to $2.4 billion, or $1.38 per diluted share. While this was a smaller drop than analysts had expected, the bank’s performance still disappointed investors.

Impact of Rising Interest Rates: The rise in interest rates affected the wealth division and trading unit, with clients choosing money market funds as an alternative to wealth management portfolios.

Lower-Than-Expected Growth Outlook: Analysts and investors expressed disappointment with the bank’s performance, particularly in wealth management and investment banking, which had previously been areas of strength for Morgan Stanley.

Provisions for Credit Losses: The bank set aside $134 million in provisions for credit losses, a significant increase from $35 million in the same quarter the previous year. This was driven by worsening conditions in commercial real estate (CRE).

CEO Succession: CEO James Gorman indicated that the bank is close to announcing the successor. The leading candidates for the role include co-presidents Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein, as well as Dan Simkowitz, head of asset management.

Despite the challenges and disappointments, Morgan Stanley’s profit decline was smaller than expected, providing a silver lining in its quarterly report. The bank continues to navigate the changing financial landscape and anticipates improved performance in M&A and capital markets transactions in the coming year.

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