Matty-Sways

Morgan Stanley finalized a deal to buy E*Trade for $13 billion as it expands its wealth management division.

The acquisition signals the bank’s aim at not only managing the assets and capital of wealthy individuals but to take that expertise to low-net worth individuals. It is the largest acquisition made by a bank since the 2008 financial crisis.

E*Trade will greatly expand the reach of Morgan Stanley through its five million retail customers. Additionally, E*Trade manages $360 billion in assets. The announced deal has had opposite effects on Morgan Stanley and E*Trade. Morgan Stanley shares were down 4.6% and E*Trade shares were up 22%.

E*Trade will be absorbed into Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division. The acquisition will equip E*Trade with Morgan Stanley’s 15,500 advisors and thus give it the capacity to compete with the recent merger between Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.

“We’ll take on Schwab. We’ll take on Fidelity,” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Executive said. “This isn’t about legacy-building; it’s about getting [Morgan Stanley] ready for prime time.”

Gorman has focused on increasing Morgan Stanley’s revenue from the past decade after its precarious position in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. This focus on increasing revenue has resulted in expanding the lending operations and wealth management division, while also decreasing trade operations.

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