Morgan Sells Spanish Retail Brokerage Arm

Morgan Stanley announced plans this week to sell its Spanish brokerage- and asset- management business to La Caixa, a Spanish financial-services firm, for $885 million

Morgan Stanley announced plans this week to sell its Spanish brokerage- and asset- management business to La Caixa, a Spanish financial-services firm, for $885 million. It’s part of a larger strategy at Morgan to focus its overseas private banking business on “ultra” high-net-worth individuals. Morgan will keep the ultra HNW clients (about $15 million or more in assets) in Spain, but is selling the “mass affluent” to La Caixa.

“This transaction will enable us to further invest in, and grow, our international Private Wealth Management business,” said Michael Armstrong, Global Head of Private Wealth Management, in a statement.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2008. In addition to the UHNW, Morgan will keep its Spanish capital markets as well as its investment banking businesses.

Morgan entered the retail wealth management business in Spain in 1999, when it bought brokerage AB Asesores for 300 million euros.

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