Morgan Stanley slumps

MORGAN Stanley’s chief executive James Gorman yesterday admitted he was “not satisfied” with the bank’s performance in the third quarter, when it swung into the red due to a poor trading environment and a writedown on the planned disposal of casino operator Revel Entertainment.

Morgan Stanley posted a net loss of $0.07 per share, compared with net income of $0.38 per share in the third quarter of 2009, after taking a $229m hit on the disposal of Revel.

Income from continuing operations fell by two thirds to $313m, while net revenues came in at $6.8bn for the quarter – a fifth below the $8.5bn the bank raked in a year ago.

Morgan Stanley said its institutional securities arm had faltered over the period due to a slump in Wall Street activity, with revenues at the division almost halving since last year to $2.89bn. After bringing in $1.34bn of pre-tax income last year, profits at the division were all but wiped out to $240m in the third quarter of 2010.

The bank’s staff compensation pot for the quarter fell by a quarter due to the poor performance, falling from $4.9bn in 2009 to just $3.7bn this year. The decline “primarily reflected lower compensation costs in institutional securities”, the bank said.

Wealth management revenues remained broadly flat from last year at $3.1bn, while asset management performed better, swinging into the black on revenues that almost doubled to $802m.

“Although we continued to make progress across some key businesses, our results in aggregate clearly do not reflect the true potential of Morgan Stanley’s global client franchise and I am not satisfied with our overall performance,” said Gorman, who took over from John Mack in January.