Morgan Stanley this week unveiled the ambitious scope of its wealth management ecosystem, a system designed to hook young, self-directed investors who use E*Trade, mid-career workplace clients with 401(k) or equity participation, executives nearing retirement and everyone in between into a full range of Morgan Stanleysolutions and businesses, and then never let them go.

Inspired by the way retail and healthcare industries use data to dig into—and latch onto—the most personal aspects of consumers’ lives, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has leveraged acquisition, integration and platform development to create what the firm is calling the Connected Client Journey. Last year, the firm managed to attract an impressive $460 billion in net new assets across these different platforms. The breadth of its cradle-to-grave services now place Morgan Stanley in a position to compete against discount brokerage giants Fidelity and Schwab, albeit with Morgan Stanley's full-service brokers vying for assets against RIAs affiliated with the two discount broker's custodial operations.

“We can serve any client, any investor in the United States, regardless of how old they are, regardless of what stage of life they’re in, regardless of how much wealth they have, regardless of what their life circumstances are,” said Andy Saperstein, co-president of Morgan Stanley and head of Wealth Management.

“In any channel, in any area within our organization, there are different competitors that are strong. But there is no competitor who can put it all together like this,” he continued.

That self-assessment and the firm’s description of the culmination of its last five years of effort as “a category-redefining ecosystem of solutions,” whether true or not may be exactly what customers want to hear, according to Cerulli Associates.

According to a Cerulli report released the same day as the Morgan Stanley reveal, 74% of affluent customers indicated that their current provider was broad enough to serve all their financial needs, and close to 60% said they would be interested in consolidating all of their investible assets to one institution.

“This emphasizes the benefit of initiating long-term relationships early in investors’ financial lifecycle, thereby creating the opportunity to reinforce firms’ capabilities as clients’ needs evolve,” wrote Scott Smith, Cerulli's director of research. “Relationships focused on transactional banking, brokerage, retirement plans, and employee stock ownership programs can all be strong starting points for these relationships.”

And that is exactly the approach Morgan Stanley seems to be taking. At the heart of the initiative is the connectivity among Wealth Management’s different businesses, where every time one company or service learns something about a customer (they purchase a product, use a service, request information, fill out a form) the data is captured, analyzed and used to prompt other services.

“Every one of our channels is integrated and connected. And that’s a pretty big statement considering three years ago we had 2.5 million clients. They were all people that we knew, they were all part of the full-service channel. And today we have 16 million clients, and a lot of them are digital or in the workplace,” Saperstein said.

And there’s something in it for the firm’s 16,000 advisors as well: lead generation.

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