© 2020 Arizent. All rights reserved.

Morgan Stanley to expand wealth management business into Canada

A Canadian flag flies from a Harbour Authority patrol boat
A Canadian flag flies from a Harbour Authority patrol boat as gantry cranes are seen at the Port of Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Register now

Morgan Stanley is expanding its wealth management business into Canada, taking on the country’s large banks with services that will include a discount brokerage and robo advisor.

The New York-based firm plans to bring Canadians wealth management offerings including a discount self-directed investing service, a team-based “virtual” advisory business and full-service financial advisors, Morgan Stanley said in a statement Wednesday. The move will complement the stock-plan administrative services the bank already provides in Canada.

“This is going to enable us to expand our footprint into Canada from a wealth management standpoint with a solution that is really tailored to the Canadian marketplace,” Laura Adams, head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Canada, said in an interview.

The push comes a year after Morgan Stanley bought Calgary-based Solium Capital, which had operated in Canada since 1999, and formed the Morgan Stanley at Work service. The business serves more than 350 Canadian companies and 275,000 Canadian stock-plan participants with more than $17.5 billion in assets.

Morgan Stanley’s U.S. wealth management platform has more than $2.4 trillion in assets under management and 15,000 financial advisors. In Canada, Morgan Stanley will be competing in wealth management against the country’s biggest banks and insurers, as well as smaller independent firms.

The firm has “massive scale, coming from the U.S. market, and really what we’re focused on here is bringing the best of that platform and the breadth of that platform to the local Canadian investor population,” Adams said.

Morgan Stanley has operated in Canada since the 1960s and employs more than 1,500 workers in the country in areas including institutional sales and trading and investment banking. The addition of Canadian wealth services is subject to regulatory approval, which the firm expects in the fourth quarter.

“We’re excited to bring these much-needed financial services to Canadian executives and employees,” said Brian McDonald, head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “The new venture also provides a tremendous growth opportunity to cultivate new Morgan Stanley wealth-management relationships in Canada.”

Morgan Stanley will use Canaccord Genuity as its local platform provider. The Toronto-based firm will provide clearing, custody and technology services, and support for the development of the online investing and portfolio-management advisory services.

The agreement is “a very meaningful opportunity for Canaccord Genuity to grow not only revenue but assets under administration,” said Stuart Raftus, president of Canaccord Genuity’s Canadian wealth-management division.

Bloomberg News