Morgan Stanley Tweaks Support Structure for Advisors to the Very Rich
Morgan Stanley’s top wealth executives said that they have formalized a business begun three years ago to service ultrarich individuals and families with practical family office management advice, investment strategies and “lifestyle” concierge services.
As part of the restructuring of the renamed Family Office Resources unit, Morgan Stanley will be hiring a new group of upper high net worth “planning specialists dedicated to proactively helping advisors deliver the Firm’s UHNW resources in a customized and coordinated manner,” wealth division co-heads Shelley O’Connor and Andy Saperstein wrote in a division-wide memo on Thursday.
The move comes as Morgan Stanley has retrenched from expensive recruiting of experienced advisors while continuing to steer its brokers to focus on offering financial planning and other services aimed at gathering money from very wealthy clients. The Family Office Resources unit currently employs 66 people.
The resources unit will continue to be co-run by David Bokman and Daniel DiBiasio. The unit is part of Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management business for customers who have $20 million or more of investable assets.
Naeema Huq Abrar, who was chief operating officer of the UHNW resources unit, has been promoted to a broader role as head of strategy and business management for Morgan Stanley’s “field” of almost 16,000 branch-based brokers. She will report to Vince Lumia, the former private wealth chief who became head of field last summer.
In a companion memo to managers and private wealth employees on Thursday, Bokman and DiBiasio announced managerial shifts for their business, which includes the “Global Sports and Entertainment” subdivision. Drew Hawkins, former head of the celebrity unit, left Morgan Stanley in November.
The new planning specialists will report to Sarah McDaniel, who had been in charge of devising wealth strategies for the group, in her new role as head of business development for Family Office Resources.
Hawkins, whose celebrity unit bestows “sports and entertainment” designations on selected brokers, has not been replaced. The area will be overseen by Glenn Kurlander, who continues to run “family governance and wealth education, and “philanthropy management” head Melanie Schnoll Begun, according to Bokman and DiBlasio’s memo.
“We are also actively searching for a new Head of Estate Planning, who will assume responsibility for our field-facing tax, trust and estate specialists,” Bokman and DiBlasio wrote.
The wealth strategies group that McDaniel headed will be supervised by Brian Mulley and Patrick Gremban. Mulley will continue to run portfolio construction strategies and Gremblan will remain in charge of asset allocation, which has been redubbed “wealth analytics and solutions.”
Bokman and DiBiasio named Valerie Wong Fountain to run Signature Access, overseeing services for clients who have their own family offices and what they called “an enhanced Lifestyle Advisory program, expanding our world-class third-party providers to serve the broader needs of our clients.”
They also appointed Nasrin Khazary, formerly chief operating officer of global sports and entertainment, as chief administrative office of their “resources” unit.
“In the coming weeks, you will hear more about how you can leverage enhanced technical expertise and hands-on planning support to better service the UHNW segment,” O’Connor and Saperstein wrote in their memo to the troops.