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Morgan Stanley completes major tech integration

MSSB brokerage venture puts 18,000 advisers on one platform

James Gorman, the chief executive at Morgan Stanley, has praised the completion of a difficult technology integration, as the bank turned in a $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion) profit for the quarter.

Morgan Stanley has been attempting to get 18,000 advisers onto the same system, since Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) was formed in 2009 - through Citigroup selling 51 percent of its Smith Barney unit to Morgan Stanley. The venture, a retail brokerage, holds $1.7 trillion of assets.

The core system covers clearing right through to front office workstations, and is understood to be based on a number of vendors' systems including IBM.

As Morgan Stanley, the second largest US investment bank, reported $9.9 billion revenues for the third quarter, Gorman praised the wealth management business and the development of MSSB.

"The firm delivered progress across many of our key initiatives, increasing client penetration in equity derivatives and interest rate products as well as achieving a significant milestone in the integration of MSSB with the initial roll out of our new technology platform," he said.

The bank was "well positioned" to deal with "turbulent markets", he said.

Morgan Stanley's integration of the Smith Barney business with its own led to extensive decision making on which company's systems to use.

In the end, Morgan Stanley kept its own brokerage technology, but added some functionality that was unique to Smith Barney.

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