© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Morgan Stanley’s New York headquarters are seen at the corner of 48th Street and Broadway in New York May 22, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton/File Photo
By Saeed Azhar and Tatiana Bautzer
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) plans to buy more wealth and asset management businesses and is keeping an eye on potential targets, CEO James Gorman said on Wednesday.
While a deal is not imminent, the bank is interested in private banking opportunities in Asia, the United States and in parts of Latin America, Gorman told analysts on a conference call after the company reported its first quarter earnings.
“There is no doubt we can, and over the years, we’ll do more acquisitions,” Gorman said. “It will be in the wealth and asset management space and we constantly keep a list of who’s attractive and who would be a good fit.”
Gorman has transformed the Wall Street powerhouse into a more diversified firm that is less reliant on its traditional strengths — trading and investment banking — since taking the helm in 2010.
He struck major deals including the acquisitions of money manager Eaton (NYSE:ETN) Vance, online broker E*Trade, and stock-plan manager Solium Capital. He was also the key architect behind Morgan Stanley’s purchase of Smith Barney, a brokerage and investment adviser that became a cornerstone of the bank’s wealth management arm.
Morgan Stanley’s profit beat expectations as rising revenue from wealth management in the first quarter offset declines in investment banking and trading. Wealth management accounted for 45% of firm’s revenue, the results showed.