Morgan Stanley to Expand Wealth-Management Business Into Canada

Morgan Stanley is expanding its wealth-management business into Canada, taking on the country’s large banks with services that will include a discount brokerage and robo adviser.

The New York-based firm plans to bring Canadians wealth-management offerings including a discount self-directed investing service, a team-based “virtual” advisory business and full-service financial advisers, Morgan Stanley said in a statement Wednesday. The move will complement the stock-plan administrative services the bank already provides in Canada.

“This is going to enable us to expand our footprint into Canada from a wealth-management standpoint with a solution that is really tailored to the Canadian marketplace,” Laura Adams, head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Canada, said in an interview.

The push comes a year after Morgan Stanley bought Calgary-based Solium Capital Inc., which had operated in Canada since 1999, and formed the Morgan Stanley at Work service. The business serves more than 350 Canadian companies and 275,000 Canadian stock-plan participants with more than $17.5 billion in assets.

Morgan Stanley’s U.S. wealth-management platform has more than $2.4 trillion in assets under management and 15,000 financial advisers. In Canada, Morgan Stanley will be competing in wealth management against the country’s biggest banks and insurers, as well as smaller independent firms.

‘Massive Scale’

Morgan Stanley has “massive scale, coming from the U.S. market, and really what we’re focused on here is bringing the best of that platform and the breadth of that platform to the local Canadian investor population,” Adams said.