OnWallStreet.com took a look at how much top firms pay their $1 million producers. The businesses generally reward such financial advisors with a combination of cash and deferred awards.

 At No. 11 is Wells Fargo Advisors, with a total of $467,180. $459,680 is part of the cash grid, while $7,500 is deferred compensation.

 No. 10 is Morgan Stanley, with $440,000 in cash, and $40,000 in deferred money, for a total of $480,000.

 Merrill Lynch is No. 9, with $495,000 in compensation. Of that, $430,000 is the cash grid, and $65,000 is deferred.

 At No. 8 is Janney, with $450,000 in the cash grid, and $50,000 in deferred money, for a total of $500,000.

 No. 7 is RBC. Producers there get $501,800 in compensation, with $460,000 in cash grid, and $41,800 in deferred money.

 Ameriprise Financial is No. 6, with a total of $505,000. Of that, $460,000 is cash grid money, and $45,000 is deferred compensation.

 Two companies tie for No. 4 with $510,000 in compensation – Wedbush, with $500,000 in cash and $10,000 in deferred money, and Stifel, with $470,000 in cash, and $40,000 in deferred money.

 At No. 3 is Hilliard Lyons, at $512,750. Of that money, $467,750 is cash, and $45,000 is deferred compensation.

 No. 2 is Raymond James, with $522,500 in money. Of that, $455,000 is cash grid money, and $67,500 is deferred funds.

 At the top of the list is UBS, with $526,750 in compensation. That breaks down to $437,500 for the cash grid, and $89,250 in deferred money for the No. 1 company.

Written by Lisa Swan

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Morgan Stanley announced that it had lower numbers of advisors as of 2012’s third quarter, but with slightly higher financial advisor productivity. WealthManagement.com revealed that the firm now has 16,829 advisors, down 1 percent from the previous quarter and 5 percent from this time the year before.

In comparison, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch, said that their head counts have stayed flat in the previous quarter. Scott Smith of Cerulli Associates told WealthManagement.com regarding Morgan Stanley that “they’re mucking along, but with 16-17,000 advisors, it’s just tough to recruit to fill natural attrition and retirement.”

In addition, Morgan Stanley said that they were purchasing back Citigroup’s 14 percent share in the company. Morgan Stanley also shed Smith Barney from its name. The Citigroup purchase would be $13.5 billion at 100 percent valuation. The firm also said that it would buy Citigroup’s remaining 35 percent share in the company by 2015.

Morgan Stanley announced that its FAs saw their revenue per advisor go up this quarter. The assets under management per advisor increased from $101 million to $105 million.

James Gorman, the company’s CEO, said that “a key to our future is the increased contribution of our wealth management to our revenue, profitability, returns and funding stability.”

Written by Lisa Swan

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Smith Barney is no more, notes OnWallStreet.c om. Morgan Stanley, which purchased Smith Barney, has now changed the name of its financial advisory practice from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Many people remember the Smith Barney name because of the commercials starring “Paper Chase” star John Houseman, who used to intone:  “They make money the old fashioned way: They earn it.” But the name Smith Barney was itself due to a 1938 merger between Edward Smith and Charles Barney, both Philadelphia brokers.

Smith Barney “has been both predator and prey in the acquisition business,” OnWallStreet.com says, The company bought Harris, Upham and Company in 1975. They also were acquired by Primerica in 1987 before being part of Morgan Stanley.

The name Smith Barney is just the latest financial firm name to go to the graveyard, the article says, the way Salomon Brothers, Paine Webber, and E.F. Hutton have also bitten the dust.

Written by Lisa Swan

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It’s official. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is cutting the number of offices, OnWallStreet.com reports. The business is slashing its number of “brokerage complexes” to 86 from 118 and cutting the number of branch managers from 150 to a total of 85. These changes are part of consolidation for the Morgan Stanley brokerage business.

These changes were rumored earlier this month, and were confirmed by Morgan Stanley late last week. The cuts also came shortly after Morgan Stanley revealed that it would cut its regional offices from 16 down to 12. There could be further cuts and changes in the works.

The most recent changes “will create larger complexes representing $150 million to $250 million in revenue,” OnWallStreet.com reports.

Morgan Stanley is tied with Citibank in a joint brokerage business venture, where Morgan Stanley owns 51 percent of the brokerage. This venture began in 2009.

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Morgan Stanley is talking about making even more substantial cuts to its Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage business, Reuters reports. There has recently been internal discussion about making a 10% cut to the company’s 120 branch complexes. Just last week, the company cut its regions from 16 to 12, cutting out four managerial positions.  At the end of last year, the company had 19 regions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Doug Kentfield, Bill McMahon and Rick Skae, three top executives at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, held conference calls talking with the remaining 12 division directors, reportedly giving them a heads-up that company consolidation, reassignments, and cuts were coming. August 17 was a date discussed for the changes to be revealed.

While there was reportedly no talk about cutting any of the 16,900 financial advisor positions, there could be some eliminations of support staff, compliance, and risk management roles within the branch complexes.

Morgan Stanley currently has 743 retail offices around the world, 16% fewer than in 2010. Morgan Stanley combined its brokerage division with Smith Barney in 2009. In addition, Morgan Stanley said in July that it was planning to reduce the overall company’s head count by 700 by the end of 2012.

Danny Sarch, a recruiter for Leitner Sarch Consultants, told the Journal that Morgan Stanley’s cost-cutting initiatives are known within the company as “Project August.”

Christine Jockle, a spokesperson for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the story.

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney took a hit in its second quarter 2012 numbers. OnWallStreet.com reports that while the company’s revenue increased from $193 million to $225 million, revenue dropped from $3.4 billion to $3.3 billion. In addition, money from commissions decreased from $1.2 billion to $976 million.

Money from the company’s ultra-high-net-worth customers decreased as well, going from $580 billion to $560 billion. Morgan Stanley customers who had assets of between $1 million to $10 million saw those assets go down from $735 billion in assets to $704 billion. However, customers who had assets under management of less than $1 million did see their assets gain as much as 10%, OnWallStreet.com reports.

In all, client assets decreased a total of $37 billion, going down to $1.71 trillion. In addition, the fee-based part of Morgan Stanley went up from $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. The company also lost 259 advisors, going down to 16,934 advisors.

According to a statement from Morgan Stanley, “Expense control is the reason net income increased while revenues declined,” and said that the money from commissions decreased, “primarily reflecting reduced commissions and fees from lower levels of client activity.”

James Gorman, CEO and chairman of Morgan Stanley, said that “in Global Wealth Management, we increased our pre-tax margin to 12 % in an environment marked by investor caution, and we integrated substantially all of our technology systems, which should bring additional value to our clients.” He said that the company was “focused on taking the necessary steps to deliver strong returns for our shareholders.”

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A variety of bank stocks declined in value Friday after J.P. Morgan Chase broke the news that it suffered at least $2 billion in trading losses. Financial Advisor magazine reports that Chase dropped 6.7 percent in value, while Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup all suffered collateral damage of sorts, sinking at least 2.7 percent in value.

In addition, the Standard & Poor 500 went down 0.8 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 0.7 percent Friday. BofA went down 2.7 percent in value Friday, Morgan Stanley 2.8 and Citigroup 3.8 percent.

The news about JP Morgan Chase has struck a nerve in and out of Wall Street“ JPMorgan has held to a higher standard among the banks,” Walter Todd, CIO of  Greenwood Capital, tells the magazine. “If this happens to them, it raises the question, if they have these issues, who else does?” And Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in a speech Friday that “Banks still have more to do to restore their health and adapt to the post-crisis regulatory and economic environment.”

In other news regarding JP Morgan Chase, so far three people have lost their jobs, the Wall Street Journal reports. In addition, the trading losses could end up being as high as $4 million.

Written by Lisa Swan

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The Morgan Stanley broker who was meeting with an alleged madam about a business venture just before she was arrested has been placed on administrative leave, OnWallStreet.com reports. David S. Walker had a business meeting with Anna Gristina, a Monroe, New York mother of four accused of running a high-class prostitution ring from an apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Charles Linehan, a New York City Assistant District Attorney, told a judge during Gristina’s arraignment that “she had been at the Morgan Stanley banker’s office for a meeting in which she was trying to solicit money to fund what we believe is another illicit venture on the Internet that involves matching male clients with female prostitutes.”

Walker denies any wrongdoing, and an internal Morgan Stanley probe reportedly found no evidence of illegal activity. But Walker did tell a reporter that “many other connections” at the company knew Gristina.

After news broke that Gristina had visited with a Morgan Stanley broker, the company searched its visitor records and discovered that Walker had met with her. He was then placed on leave.

Walker, who has a 20+ year career as a broker, has worked at Morgan Stanley on and off since 1999.

Written by Lisa Swan

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While the biggest rivals on Wall Street share a common disdain for new constraints on financial risk-taking, they’re fighting over exactly how to tame the sprawling regulatory overhaul.

Major industry lobbyists like the Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association are split on crucial rules stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act, including restrictions on lending and the $600 trillion derivatives market, two areas at the center of the financial crisis. As federal officials flesh out some 300 new regulations, top companies and trade groups are squabbling over the fine print, each cheerleading for policies that suit their own businesses.

“On almost every issue, competitors are fighting over the outcome of regulations,” said Mark D. Young, a former regulator who is now a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Some level of discord is expected. The Dodd-Frank law, which spans some 2,300 pages, is as huge and disparate as the industry it polices.

But a few industry debates have grown hostile. Firms are taking aim at competitors, and regulators are stuck in the awkward position of picking winners and losers — all of which has delayed new rules.

“Our charge as regulators is to ensure market integrity and an open and competitive marketplace for all market participants,” said Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The nation’s biggest banks, at odds with their smaller brethren, are pushing Mr. Gensler to soften proposed rules that would create broader competition in the derivatives industry, according to several people close to the agency who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rules are not yet finished. The banks, including Morgan Stanley, worry that smaller players may not have the financial fortitude to take on potential risks, concerns echoed earlier this year by a European regulator.

Click link to view full article at NY Times Dealbook 

By Ben Protess NY Times Dealbook
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Barclays Wealth has hired Richard Comeau to join its New York office. Comeau, who has 20 years of industry experience, was most recently at Goldman Sachs.

Read full artilce here

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