Morgan Stanley Hires Senior Schwab Exec to Democratize Stock Plan Unit
Morgan Stanley has tapped a veteran Charles Schwab Corp. executive to revamp a corporate stock plan unit that has focused primarily on very wealthy corporate executives.
Brian McDonald joined in December to head the corporate equity solutions group that offers administrative and advisory services to help companies and their employees manage stock awards, restricted shares, insider transactions and private stock valuations.
The unit is a referral source for selected brokers who position themselves as stock-plan advisors to top executives (whose “management” of company plans often place them in asset-weighted rankings of “top” brokers). But Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman has targeted the stock plan business as one of the few areas that can be supported through robo-advisor and other digital initiatives.
By promoting its fledgling “Access Investing” robo program to a broader range of corporate employees, the firm hopes to convert more plan participants into full-fledged wealth management clients. (The other target audience for digital offerings is children of existing wealth management clients, Gorman has said.)
McDonald is the second senior executive that Morgan Stanley has recruited from Schwab.
Naureen Hassan, who helped develop Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio robo offering, joined as Morgan Stanley’s chief digital officer two years ago.
Schwab is one of the two largest providers of “robo” advice to individuals and investment advisors and its large corporate stock plan business boasts one of the highest conversion rates of plan participants to wealth management customers, according to industry sources. Schwab’s Corporate Services business, which includes retirement plan services as well as the stock plan unit, contributes between 15% and 20% of new household retail accounts annually, a company spokesman said.
McDonald had spent his entire career at Schwab, joining the San Francisco-based company in 1993 as a retail broker after graduating from Indiana University, according to his LinkedIn profile. He subsequently managed Schwab’s Active Trader and global investing “client experience” teams. When he left a month ago, he was a senior vice president in charge of all client service support for retail investors, as well as for stock plan services, overseeing about 2,000 people.
Reached at his Denver office, McDonald confirmed his new position but declined to elaborate.
Marc McDonough, who was a vice president and general manager of Schwab’s stock plan business, has been promoted to senior vice president in charge of the business, the company spokesman said.