Breakingviews

Morgan Stanley Q1 rivals Goldman by different path

April 20, 2015

James Gorman’s firm had its best quarter in years. Its Wall Street competitor still has the edge with returns and book value growth. By one key metric, though, investors value Morgan Stanley more highly. Gorman’s strategy, which downplays volatile trading, is starting to pay off.

Google’s CFO search should have it feeling lucky

March 24, 2015

There’s a dearth of executives with the financial, tech and government experience needed to help run a $400 bln company. Even fewer women fit the bill. Silicon Valley and Wall Street just can’t find enough Ruth Porats fast enough. The challenge is to create more like her.

Morgan Stanley rains on its own parade

January 20, 2015

The Wall Street firm was progressing nicely in the first nine months of 2014. A dismal fourth quarter, though, exposed cracks that boss James Gorman still needs to fix. Hitting a 10 pct ROE this year may be possible, but could require the Fed’s helping hand on capital return.

James Gorman can leave Brian Moynihan in slow lane

December 18, 2014

The Morgan Stanley and BofA CEOs each marks five years in charge in 2015. Neither has had an easy time of it. Gorman, though, ought to be able to lead his firm back above a 10 pct ROE – an important, if humdrum, ambition. Moynihan’s lending behemoth remains a ways off that.

Morgan Stanley email shame begs a tech solution

June 16, 2014

Messages sent by the bank’s head of M&A to Allergan look bad now that it works for hostile suitor Valeant. Merger practitioners, meanwhile, won’t like Allergan’s scorched-earth tactic releasing them. The episode does, however, prove there’s a market for a corporate Snapchat.

Morgan Stanley gets most relief from first quarter

April 17, 2014

James Gorman presided over a far better Q1 than in 2013 – including bucking the Wall Street trend in fixed-income trading. Goldman posted stronger numbers, though investment gains helped. More importantly, Gorman is closer to hitting targets than other rivals like Citi and BofA.

Lazard puts M&A feet firmly in big boys’ camp

February 5, 2014

The Wall Street firm didn’t just hit its operating margin targets for 2013. Like JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, its bankers also raked in bumper revenue in the second half of the year as bigger deals picked up. Smaller rivals Evercore and Greenhill, meanwhile, couldn’t keep up.

Deutsche ditch divines commoditized commodities

December 6, 2013

The German bank is quitting energy and base metals trading. That should free up capital without hurting results. It’s a helpful step that others like Barclays and BNP Paribas may follow. It won’t, however, fully solve the bigger problem of a swoon making profits elusive for all.

Solo stars Goldman and Morgan Stanley share stage

October 3, 2013

Relationship banking of yore meant the two banks slugged it out for exclusive assignments. Now, in M&A as well as IPOs like Twitter’s, they work next to each other more often than with almost any other peers. Clients most of all are forcing Wall Street’s biggest rivalry to fade.

Jefferies shows fixed income isn’t for everyone

September 18, 2013

Revenue generated from trading bonds, currencies and commodities slumped 85 pct in Q3, far more than larger rivals are expecting. Jefferies, as a relative newcomer, is struggling with volatility. The same may prove true for FICC downsizers Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and UBS.