Morgan Stanley is reassigning nine executives to new roles following its acquisition of E*Trade, according to an internal memo obtained by WealthManagement.com. The roles cover a variety of functions, from marketing, to client experience, to strategic development.
The former CFO of E*Trade, Chad Turner, will be leading the Digital Direct group, which is responsible for building digital long-term investing products. E*Trade's former chief marketing officer, Andrea Zaretsky, will be the CMO of the wealth management division, while former E*Trade Chief Customer Officer Alice Milligan was promoted to CMO of Morgan Stanley. Turner and Zaretsky both report to Andy Saperstein, co-president of Morgan Stanley. At least one report indicates Saperstein could be in line to eventually lead the firm.
Mike Murphy, Chris Larkin, Erik Jepson and Shane Mulron will all be reporting to Turner. Murphy, the former head of E*Trade’s brokerage services, is now head of client services for Digital Direct. Larkin will be making a lateral move, from head of trading at E*Trade to the same title at Digital Direct. Jepson, former head of digital client experience and platforms at Morgan Stanley, is filling a similar role at Digital Direct. Mulron, the former head of institutional product and risk management at E*Trade, is now the head of business control and support within Digital Direct.
The acquisition is also leading to new roles. Mike Curcio, former head of E*Trade’s self-directed brokerage, is being installed in the newly created role of head of strategic transformation. Reporting to him will be Brett Goodman, former head of strategy at E*Trade.
“This is a really exciting time for our business as we enter the next phase of our growth,” Saperstein wrote in his note to colleagues. “Our values are aligned as we’ve worked closely together to make the combination successful. As we move forward as one unified team, it’s critical that we continue to learn from each other and leverage the full set of skills and experiences across the organization.”
Morgan Stanley's strategy for the discount broker business is still unclear. The firm acquired E*Trade in February 2020 in a $13 billion all-stock transaction. That move came on the heels of Charles Schwab Corp.'s acquisition of TD Ameritrade for $22 billion. While the implementation of zero-fee trading commissions prompted consolidation among the discount brokers, the move also consolidated two of the four largest advisor custodians in the market.
In April, Morgan Stanley sold E*Trade's RIA custody business to Axos Financial for $55 million in cash, signaling it is not interested in pursuing that line of business, unlike its Wall Street rivals; Goldman Sachs, for instance, is building out an independent advisor custody channel, hiring many former TD Ameritrade employees to do it.
The deal netted Axos approximately $23 billion in assets under custody and another $1.2 billion in client cash deposits, across “approximately 200 RIA custody relationships,” according to Gregory Garrabrants, president and CEO of Axos Financial.