Morgan Stanley profits climb 9% on asset management business


NEW YORK – Investment bank Morgan Stanley said its fourth-quarter profits rose 9% from a year ago, helped by a big jump in fee revenue from its growing asset and wealth management business. The investment banking division also boosted results, as deal-making on Wall Street continued at a frenzied pace.

The New York-based firm said Wednesday that it earned $3.7 billion in the quarter, or $2.01 a share, up from a profit of $3.39 billion, or $1.81 a share, in the same period a year ago. The results topped analysts’ expectations.

Like nearly every other big bank that’s reported its quarterly results so far, Morgan Stanley faced higher wage and benefit expenses in the quarter. The major banks are all competing for talent, particularly young bankers who can lead the next generation of trading and deal-making, and the banks have been willing to pay handsomely for these employees.

In a call with investors on Tuesday, the CEO of Morgan Stanley’s chief rival…

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