Morgan Stanley Widens Roles of Finn, Other Wealth Executives
Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division has consolidated oversight of its expanding corporate stock plan business under Chief Operating Officer Jed Finn and shifted oversight of the “institutional” franchises it inherited from Smith Barney to rising star Ben Huneke.
In a memo sent Thursday to wealth employees, division coheads Shelley O’Connor and Andy Saperstein said Finn’s expanding reach complements its decision announced last month to buy Canada-based stock plan administrator Solium Capital for $900 million.
Morgan Stanley presented that deal, which Finn helped orchestrate, as a strategically important way to source wealth management customers among the millennial-generation employees of start-up companies such as Shopify and Stripe, a sector that Solium focuses on.
“In order to execute fully on the opportunity, Jed Finn, COO of Wealth Management, will take on additional responsibilities as Head of a newly-created Corporate & Institutional Solutions organization,” they wrote.
The new unit will include Morgan Stanley Wealth’s call-center business for less affluent investors that has been rebranded Virtual Advisor and its “robo” automated investment platform called Morgan Stanley Access Investing. Brian McDonald, who Morgan Stanley recruited last year from Charles Schwab Corp. to manage its stock plan business, will have direct responsibility for Solium and report to Finn, the memo said.
Huneke, who three years ago was promoted to head the wealth division’s products and strategy group, broadens his role over what O’Connor and Saperstein described as a “consolidated product and platform organization.” Huneke also will oversee the “Consulting Group” managed account business and the Graystone Consulting business for public and private pension funds and endowments, units that Morgan Stanley inherited from Smith Barney.
James J. Tracy, the legacy Smith Barney executive who leads Consulting Group and Graystone, will report to Huneke.
Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman has referred to the Smith Barney businesses as hidden jewels, and the reorganization announced today appears to further underscore his vision that much of the future of the core brokerage business lies in sourcing wealthy individuals by first servicing their employers.
Both Finn and Huneke are former partners at McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm where Gorman worked before transitioning to wealth management superstar status by running the brokerage behemoths at Merrill Lynch and then Morgan Stanley.
Finn joined Morgan Stanley in 2011 as COO of the investment products and services group and also worked as co-head of advisory platforms and solutions, prior to his elevation to the top operational role for all of wealth management in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Huneke, who joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 from McKinsey, had run alternative investments in the wealth group before O’Connor and Saperstein elevated him to the revenue-sensitive products role that determines what funds and other managed investments the firm’s 16,000 brokers sell to customers.
Lisa Golia, head of strategic services for the branch system, also expands her domain, according to the memo. She has been promoted to oversee a “combined Field Service” organization that includes responsibility for client service associates and other support staff, an expansion of her previous focus on coordinating client onboarding and asset transfers.
As part of its push to deploy digital technology to create efficiencies as well as service a new generation of wealth clients, Morgan Stanley has said that the roles of client associates will be shifting to more direct servicing as it automates clerical processes.
“Having our Service Professionals aligned with Lisa’s existing team furthers our goal of streamlining and digitizing workflow in the branches and providing superior client service,” O’Connor and Saperstein wrote.