The number of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter global financial advisers grew 1,036 over the last 12 months to a record 14,108, according to Robert Scott, the firm’s president and Chief Operating Officer. But Scott said during an investor conference call yesterday that the “weakened environment” will adversely impact the broker population.
"Obviously, in a period where activity slows down and production declines, there’s a segment of the FA base that faces some significant challenges, and you get some major attrition among some of your lower producers,” Scott said. “And that does impact the overall rate of growth in your FA head count.
“While you may have fairly aggressive plans on the trainee side, there’s an attrition part of the equation which is influenced by the overall market and those two dynamics make our ability to add to the head count in the FA population a little uncertain."
Scott also said that assets in fee-based accounts decreased slightly from the fourth quarter, yet increased 8% over last year’s first quarter.
“Clearly, the level of activity in the retail business was lower in February than the other two months of the quarter,” he said. “I’m not aware of an improvement in March. The tone continues to be somber in the retail space.”
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