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Morgan Stanley Hiring Staff to Boost FA Tech Skills

March 15, 2017

Morgan Stanley is hiring hundreds of technology specialists to guide its brokers on better use of digital tools, Reuters reports.

The wirehouse will first train the tech hires at its Purchase, N.Y., headquarters and this summer will assign them to branches nationwide, according to Reuters. The new hires will train advisors on using investment apps, text and video software, and social media platforms, the newswire writes. The tech hires may also be incorporated into advisor teams, Andy Saperstein, Morgan Stanley’s co-head of wealth management, tells Reuters.

The move is seen as a general shift among traditional wealth managers to reach younger prospective clients more comfortable using digital tools, according to the wirehouse. The average advisor, meanwhile, is 51, according to Cerulli Associates data cited by Reuters.

The hires were prompted by Morgan Stanley’s own push into digital technology, Saperstein tells the newswire. The firm realized that investing in technology alone wasn’t sufficient without training the brokers to use it, he says, according to Reuters.

Morgan Stanley is already using some automation technology to reduce the time advisors spend on routine tasks such as account openings, the newswire writes. The firm has also recently hired several digital technology staff to strengthen its technology chops, including several executives from rival Merrill Lynch, according to Reuters.

And around the same time as Saperstein joined Morgan Stanley last January, the wirehouse hired Charles Schwab’s Naureen Hassan for the newly created position of chief digital officer for wealth management.

That month, Jim Rosenthal, previously chief operating officer at Morgan Stanley, was appointed to lead the development of the company’s digital services, which included tentative plans for a robo-advisor aimed at younger and high net worth clients. And in January, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said the wirehouse would like to offer a digital-only way for clients to access its wealth management offerings.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Reuters article cited in this story, click here.