Starting in January 1999, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will charge an annual $50 service fee for some accounts. The fee will be charged each January based on activity in the account the previous year, the firm says. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is applying the charge to help meet the cost of administering and servicing [the] account, according to an announcement to clients.
The move brings the firm in line with other major brokerages, including Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney and Prudential Securities, which already have similar fees. Prudentials $50 fee instituted in July upset its brokerage force (see May 98 RR, Page 24), but Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reps dont seem to be worried about the new charge.
Its not a big deal, says one broker at the firm. Its really for inactive accounts. Some people have $2,000 and it just sits here, and we have to generate statements and all that, so I think its fair.
Accounts that hold more that $25,000 in Morgan Stanley Dean Witter/Van Kampen mutual funds will be exempt, as will general securities accounts that generate more than $100 in transaction revenue in a year, the firm says. Other exempt accounts include certain asset management accounts, retirement accounts, and accounts that hold only book-entry or non-deliverable securities.