Morgan Stanley Return on System Noninvestment

Topics: Morgan Stanley, Discover Card, Dean Witter Reynolds Pages: 4 (1605 words) Published: November 6, 2011
Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm with more than 600 offices in 30 countries and over 53,000 employees. It was founded in 1935 and is headquartered in New York City. The firm operates in four segments: Institutional Securities, Asset Management, Retail Brokerage, and Discover (which provides Discover Card services.) The firm acquired the Discover Card business as a result of its merger with retail brokerage Dean Witter Discover and Co. in 1997. The unification of Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter created a digital, cultural, and philosophical divide, which was extremely difficult to overcome. One of the business sectors to suffer the most under this arrange¬ment has been Retail Brokerage, which manages $616 billion in client assets. Retail Brokerage provides comprehensive brokerage, investment, and financial services to individual investors globally, with 9,526 worldwide representatives in more than 500 retail locations, including 485 in the United States. Despite the merger, the Retail Brokerage group was never accepted as an equal partner by the rest of Morgan Stanley. Former Dean Witter employees have claimed they felt like disrespected outsiders after the merger. The feeling persisted and many retail brokers viewed their job security as tenuous at best. Moreover, Retail Brokerage was not well-integrated with the rest of the company. It ran on a different systems platform than the institutional brokerage side, and its employee systems were not integrated. Retail Brokerage systems were also much more antiquated than those at other parts of the company. Brokers had to visit their offices on weekends to print portfolio summaries in advance of client meet¬ings, because the outdated computer systems could not handle the task during normal business hours. Even on those off-hours, desktop PCs, which hadn't been upgraded in years, would often crash and print¬ers clogged if they were being used by more than two people. Brokers did their work without...
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