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Rating:This Wirehouse Plans to Mirror the Robos and Eat Their Lunch Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, October 22, 2015

This Wirehouse Plans to Mirror the Robos and Eat Their Lunch

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Independent broker-dealers, RIA custodians, and reporters aren't the only ones catching robo-fever. At least one wirehouse is diving into the space, too.

Greg Fleming
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Yesterday in his keynote speech at the Money Management Institute's (MMI's) 2015 Fall Solutions conference at the Grand Hyatt above New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management president Greg Fleming gave MMI attendees a hint as to the wirehouse's robo designs. Without naming any specific roboadvisors, Fleming praised their innovation in dealing with clients, especially millennials.

"What roboadvisors have done on the front end of interacting with a client is they've made it very efficient. It's like dealing with Apple or Google in terms of the efficiency of the interaction," Fleming said. "We're going to mirror that at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management ... We'll build the front end, just as good."

Fleming added that roboadvisors' weakness is the advice on the backend, and that of course is where he sees his shop and other wirehouses being able to shine.

In the Q&A session after his remarks, Fleming dismissed MMI attendees' worries over roboadvisors putting pressure on B-Ds' pricing power and margins.

"In wealth management, technology ultimately enables a more efficient business to be run. Roboadvisors brought an efficient front end," Fleming said. "I do think technology will also enable a differentiated set of services to be offered to clients."

"Firms won't be able to shape how the client is going to pay for and demand services," Fleming added. The clients themselves "are going to make that choice." 

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