Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business is joining an increasing trend in the United States, which is seeing brokerage commissions slashed across the board in an apparent win for clients nationwide. The latest push will see the group lower commissions that brokers earn on stock trades, exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) and annuities.
The initiative follows on the heels of a similar move back in March when TD Ameritrade, Fidelity Investments, and Charles Schwab all cut their online equity and ETF commissions for investors given widespread pressure to lower costs. The joint industry move also snapped what had been a tight consolidation of commission spreads that held for nearly a decade in the US.
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As such, there is now a commission cap for brokers, which will be arbitrated at 2.5 percent of a given trade. For its part Morgan Stanley sees the move as a bid to help better align client costs, according to a recent Reuters report.
Ultimately, the lower costs will be a net positive for clients who will now have to deal with less fees for the same services. The impetus behind the move was a new US Labor Department retirement regulation, which will affect investment products such as mutual funds.
The US wealth management industry has had to adapt to the upcoming regulation to change its fees and commissions – the rule comes into effect on June 9, 2017 and will requires firms to eliminate any conflict of interest, such as certain sales incentives, for brokers who are advising clients on their retirement savings.