June 1 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley is putting some of its financial advisers into its Times Square headquarters in New York City for the first time as the Wall Street firm tries a novel approach aimed at generating more business between its investment bank and wealth management units.
The sixth-largest U.S. bank has relocated 90 advisers from its private wealth management business, who deal with its wealthiest clients. They were previously in other New York locations including Morgan Stanley’s Fifth Avenue office, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment.
The move, which creates a new flagship for its private wealth management operation at the bank’s headquarters, is part of a long-running effort at Morgan Stanley to encourage more interaction between the separate banking and wealth units, which senior executives want to share more customers.
An investment banker, for example, might introduce an executive whose company is about to go public to an adviser to manage his wealth, or an adviser might introduce a corporate client to a mergers and acquisitions banker to get advice on a transaction. Bonuses would reflect those referrals, according to the people familiar with the plans.
The plan is being led by Morgan Stanley’s “strategic client management” unit, which the bank set up several years ago to stimulate new business across the firm’s units. It is now run by Vince Lumia, also the head of the bank’s private wealth management group.
Morgan Stanley’s wealth unit last year gained $12 billion to $15 billion in assets due to referrals from investment banking and trading businesses, said Andy Saperstein, Morgan Stanley’s co-head of wealth management, at a financial conference in New York on Wednesday. The wealth unit also drove $100 million worth of business for the institutional group through referrals, he said.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Saperstein said. “We think we can grow this substantially.”
Until now, Morgan Stanley’s Times Square headquarters has housed its institutional business which includes banking, trading and research.
Top wealth executives including Lumia have also moved to the building. Some financial advisers will remain in other offices around New York, including Morgan Stanley’s 522 Fifth Avenue location and its wealth management headquarters in Purchase, New York. (Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Bill Rigby)