Morgan Stanley reps' business cards got shorter this year, with the deletion of the Dean Witter name in April. Yet the change rated nary a mention by survey respondents, who were more interested in critiquing Morgan Stanley's management, recruiting efforts and research department.
While reps tend to praise CEO Phil Purcell, they have questions about the firm's overall strategy. “Morgan Stanley is late to the game in many respects, but is making positive changes in pricing, products and its planning focus,” one producer says.
Most brokers welcome the new emphasis on annuitized business. “I like our fee-based campaign,” another rep says. “That's something smart the firm has done. It's beneficial because it is the way the industry is going.” In addition, the firm offered a premium on new fee business this year, according to respondents.
Speaking of payout, Morgan Stanley reps seem to have forgotten last December's ruckus about production hurdles being raised then lowered again.
Now, more are worried about sales assistant compensation. “They are so badly underpaid, it's a wonder we get any quality people at all,” says one rep. Adds another, “If we could get enough help [from SAs], we could increase our production by 30%.”
Several respondents issue a tough assessment of the firm's analysts. “Our equity research is at a low point,” one producer says. “It's a result of us having too much exposure to technology. It's somewhat hurt our credibility as a firm. We're working to combat that in the sales force.”
Just who's on the sales force is a sticking point, too, as many criticize recruitment efforts. “The place is a revolving door,” one broker says. “They spend too much time on filling quotas and not enough time on quality candidates.”
Overall, Morgan Stanley brokers have a serious tone. Concludes one: “Working here is everything I expected when I joined 12 years ago. It's a really conservative firm that fits my personality.”
|Firm Score||Average: All Firms|
|Freedom from pressure to sell certain products||8.40||9.23|
|Realistic sales quotas||8.18||8.65|
|The firm's hiring and recruiting practices||6.94||7.66|
|Quality of sales assistants||7.26||7.87|
|Quantity of sales assistants||6.42||7.20|
|Quality of sales ideas||7.72||7.82|
|The quote and information system||8.48||8.70|
|Quality of the firm's operations||7.72||7.96|
|Quality of the firm's research||7.61||7.54|
|The firm's fixed-income pricing||7.50||7.77|
|Quality of the products offered||8.32||8.64|
|Your branch manager||8.06||8.31|
|The firm's strategic focus||8.30||8.25|
|Overall ethics of the firm||8.98||9.31|
|The firm's image with the public||8.60||8.54|