LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. will continue to trim expenses, its president and chief operating officer said Wednesday.
We are zealously focused on minimizing our noncompensation expenses, Robert G. Scott told attendees at a Morgan Stanley financial services conference in California. His comments came just one week after the New York company announced that it would eliminate 1,500 jobs in its securities and asset management businesses.
Morgan Stanley is just one of many financial services companies to wield the layoff ax as the industry faces a drought in new deals. Equity underwriting dropped 62% in the first quarter, and retail investor activity has been skittish on the heels of an economic downturn. This environment should have us all on the analyst couch three times a week, he said. But, in fact, thats not the case. Were focused on the future, Mr. Scott said.
The globalization of financial services provides a lot of opportunity for companies with Morgan Stanleys breadth, he said. Global mergers and acquisitions are expected to grow 31.1%, and global equity underwriting some 21.1%, within five years, he said.
We believe that these trends favor global firms with size and scale, not regional and niche players, Mr. Scott said.
However, analysts who cover investment banks are predicting a grim second quarter for the sector. And on Wednesday, Diana Yates, an equity analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, slashed nearly 40 cents from her estimates for Morgan Stanleys second quarter earnings, from $1.00 a share to just 0.61 cents.
A long laundry list of issues continue to plague Morgan Stanley and the industry," Ms. Yates wrote in her note. "Put simply the company cannot book to income what is not there, she said, noting that the investment bank has only led one initial public offering this quarter. Morgan Stanley's fiscal second quarter ends May 31.