Morgan Stanley is taking a cautionary approach with expenses in light of the current market environment and may slash spending in some areas, although the wealth and retirement businesses are priorities for continued investment, according to news reports.
“We are focused on discretionary spending while balancing continued investment initiatives and ensuring the right controls are in place to support future growth,” chief financial officer Sharon Yeshaya said last week during the firm’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts, according to FA-IQ sister publication Ignites.
“Our priority is to diligently address what we can control given the market realities. We will continue to review incremental spend as we regard efficiency as a critical performance objective," she added.
But Morgan Stanley chief executive officer James Gorman also said that while the company will take a hard look at expenses, it continues to invest in certain segments, including in the retirement space, digital banks and wealth, the publication writes.
Morgan Stanley had $9.7 billion in non-interest expenses during the second quarter, which was 4% lower year-over-year, according to Ignites, which cites the firm’s latest quarterly earnings report.
That amount included the $200 million Morgan Stanley expects to pay over a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission into its employees’ use of unapproved personal communication devices.
JPMorgan chief executive officer Jamie Dimon made it clear last week that his firm is taking a different approach, essentially staying the course. In response to a question about why the firm was keeping its 2022 expense forecast unchanged at $77 billion, JPMorgan’s chief said that neither the current market volatility nor the war in Ukraine and rising prices would “change how we run the company.”
“We’ve always run the company consistently, investing and doing stuff, through storms. We don’t like pull in and pull out, and go up and go down, and go into markets, out of markets through storms,” Dimon said during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s second quarter earnings last week.
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