Morgan Stanley beats earning estimates, much of the success is attributable to the stunning growth of its wealth management division. Once considered the most boring part of Wall Street's business, in the wake of the financial crisis it has become a critical profit center.
At Morgan Stanley, wealth management, which is led by Gregory J. Fleming, was a big focus for analysts on the quarterly conference call. That unit, with 16,321 financial advisers, posted net revenue of $3.5 billion, up more than 10 percent. Its pretax profit margin, a widely watched figure on Wall Street, came in at 18.5 percent. That margin, which previously had been around 17 percent, was higher than the firm’s expectations.