In direct contrast to rival Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, will allow its 16,000 brokers to continue offering individual retirement accounts that charge investors commissions rather than fees. The divergence pits the firms (each with about $2 trillion in assets), against one another under the new DOL rules.
The approach is directly opposed to that taken by rival Merrill Lynch. The Bank of America Corp. unit said earlier this month that it plans to ditch the industry’s traditional commission-based sales model for retirement accounts and will effectively offer only IRAs that charge a fee based on a percentage of assets starting next year. The divergence will be a test of what works best for retirement savers and brokers, who could end up moving their business to firms that better suit their approach. Americans have $3 trillion in assets set aside in commission-based retirement accounts in the U.S., much of which will be affected by the decisions Morgan Stanley, Merrill and other brokerages make on compliance.