Morgan Stanley system to track adviser weak spots

* New tool allows M. Stanley to track client performance

* Clients to be put into categories, compared across firm

* Will also reveal performance of internal experts

By Helen Kearney

NEW YORK, Dec 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
advisers may want to get busy improving performance in weak
pockets of their business — before the firm rolls out a new
tracking tool early next year.

The joint venture between Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ) and
Citigroup Inc (C.N: ) is introducing a tool designed to track
adviser performance and help identify areas of weakness. The
system will break down each of their 18,000 advisers’ client
lists into categories and then assess how brokers perform
against their peers in managing each group.

“We want to be able to measure the performance of clients
and try to increase returns by giving advisers tools to manage
money better,” said David Lessing, who heads strategy and
integration for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Clients will be placed in different categories depending on
factors such as age and risk tolerance. Their performance will
be compared to that of similar clients across the firm.

Morgan Stanley has set ambitious financial targets for the
brokerage venture, a significant part of the company’s overall
business. Indeed brokers across Wall Street are under pressure
to generate more fees, and brokerages are thinking hard about
whether they can continue to support smaller accounts.

Technology will play a big role in sorting out the leaders
from the laggards. At Morgan Stanley, underperforming advisers
— and their branch managers — will be notified and receive
suggestions for training or pairing up with more successful
advisers.

Advisers will also be able to see how their most successful
peers are doing across different parts of the business.

The tool is part of a much larger technology project under
way at Morgan Stanley, which is scheduled to roll out a new
system for both Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney advisers by the
third quarter of next year.

And it is not just advisers who will have their weaknesses
revealed: the firm plans to track how recommendations of its
top strategists and economists perform over time. The results
will be shown to advisers.

“We have to be transparent about how our own
recommendations perform,” said Lessing.

Morgan Stanley is also encouraging advisers to become more
social. Last month it unveiled an internal social media site
with over 400 profiles of advisers who are either money
managers or specialists in a particular area.

The firm hopes it will lead to more cooperation between
advisers. It could also help keep more money management
assignments — and the fees that come with it — within the
firm rather than advisers farming it to outside managers.

“Advisers told us they learn by getting together and
learning about each other’s practices,” said Lessing. “This
gives them access to expertise from around the firm.”

(Reporting by Helen Kearney; Editing by Richard Chang)

Morgan Stanley system to track adviser weak spots