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Morgan Stanley sweetens recruiting deals

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Weeks after overhauling its recruiting deals in light of new regulatory guidance on the fiduciary rule, Morgan Stanley is again tweaking its transition package for elite brokers.

The wirehouse is sweetening the deal for advisers in the top quintile, offering up to 175% of a broker's 12-month trailing production to move, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Plus, advisers with $450M in combined AUM join Benjamin Edwards.
October 31

The deal consists of only upfront awards, in order to be in compliance with recent guidance from the Department of Labor.

The department recently warned that back-end compensation typically included in wirehouse recruiting deals could create potential conflicts of interest under the fiduciary rule, which goes into effect next April. The additional regulatory guidance set off a wave of reactions across the industry, and firms have been reevaluating how they structure their recruiting deals.

Among the wirehouses, UBS has also decided to cut back-end comp from recruiting deals, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo declined to comment on their strategies.

As part of its most recent changes, Morgan Stanley will also pick up all deferred compensation for elite advisers, said a person familiar with the matter but who asked not to be identified.

"The step was taken to remain competitive but still be compliant in the event that the DoL rule does go into effect," the person said.

Some industry insiders and observers anticipate the incoming Trump administration will move to prevent the fiduciary rule from going into effect. President-elect Donald Trump will have two strategies available by which he can overturn the landmark regulation, should he choose to do so. If he did, it would leave firms in an awkward position given the many of changes they have been making in order to comply with the regulation.

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