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Next up for Morgan Stanley’s tech rollout: New advisor dashboard

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Morgan Stanley rolled out a new dashboard for its 15,000-plus advisors, the latest in a series of technology investments that the brokerage has made.

The dashboard, dubbed WealthDesk, is intended to make it easier for advisors to manage client relationships. It will also better integrate the digital tools that Morgan Stanley has introduced in recent years, including BlackRock’s Aladdin.

The firm is billing it as a “huge step” for its advisors, who gained access to it this week.

WealthDesk brings together more than 10 applications, such as the firm’s goals planning system and Next Best Action, a client communication tool that uses predictive analytics. The dashboard was developed in-house and replaces several other platforms that advisors previously relied on.

Morgan Stanley has typically chosen to work with a third party on digital products that executives view as unique or easily commoditized. But when it comes to core client experiences, the wirehouse says it prefers to build technology in-house.

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Morgan Stanley’s fintech investments are intended to produce greater efficiency, attract new assets and bolster the bottom line, executives say. It’s also a theme that firm leaders have emphasized during earnings calls with analysts.

Indeed, Morgan Stanley’s efforts often go beyond writing new software. The company is revamping office space to make it more tech-friendly, emphasizing its digital prowess with external recruiters and putting a digital spin on its advisor training program. And in perhaps the clearest sign to brokers about the company’s commitment to technology, the brokerage put incentives to adopt new tools in its 2019 compensation plan for advisors.

Of course, Morgan Stanley isn’t alone in pushing the digital frontier. A number of firms are doubling down on fintech in order to bolster and expand their businesses. For example, UBS is working with Broadridge Financial to revamp its platform and with SigFig on its robo advisor. AssetMark, a turnkey asset management provider, recently added a new wealth management and planning platform to its network of advisors. Startups such as d1g1t, a wealth management tech provider, are also attracting new funding; d1g1t recently raised $6.8 million.

--With additional reporting from Sean Allocca.

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