Morgan Stanley might have officially announced on Thursday that it was acquiring Eaton Vance Corp. for about $7 billion, but for those who have been listening to Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, it was never truly a matter of whether the white-shoe Wall Street bank would make such a move but rather when and with whom.

In Eaton Vance, Gorman seems to have gotten just what he wanted. But don’t take it from me, take it from the CEO himself. This is what he said during a virtual conference in June, when asked about where he saw Morgan Stanley’s asset-management business headed in the years ahead:

“Our asset management business’s strength was its breadth. Its weakness was its lack of depth. So we’re in every vertical. We have liquidity management. We have a fixed income. We have an active equities business. We’re deep in value. We’ve also got great growth businesses. We’ve got a fund of funds business. We have infrastructure. We’ve got real estate. We’ve got private equity. We’ve got MIS. But everything was kind of like small. And finally, we’re starting to get some scale. …

“Now are where we want to be? No. We can be bigger — definitely bigger in scale in fixed income. We could definitely have more and different style managers across our active equities business. We can definitely be bigger in PE. There are lots of areas where we can grow. …

“We’ll do deals. I've been very clear about that. I mean I’m not shy about doing deals that I think hit our sweet spot and there are a lot of things that hit our sweet spot. But you can get caught doing large-scale asset management deals, you want to be very cautious about that. It doesn’t mean that's a zero chance.