FLEMING ON THE INTEGRATION OF THE JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN MORGAN STANLEY AND CITI’S SMITH BARNEY
Mary Thompson: I’ve spoken to a number of people and there were a lot of complaints about this integration, in large part because of the problems associated with the new technology that was introduced. Are those problems behind you right now?
Greg Fleming: It is a new car, it doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles that is needs and there are things like the longer statement – things that haven’t worked as quickly as they need to for clients and for financial advisors. We’re very aware of that. And we’re focused now on making sure we add all of those features back to this new car. You know, and — and not all of it will happen in the first month, or three months. But over time we’ll add more and more of these features so it has the functionality that it needs for these advisors and their clients.
Thompson: Do you put a lot of credence in the whole idea that there could be some kind of exodus from some of the legacy Smith Barney people because of concerns about the system? How concerned are you about that?
Fleming: We’re listening very carefully to the concerns, and the issues and the things that they need to help us address in the technology. They have businesses they’ve invested in, and really that they’ve built and they own the coverage of those clients for a long time. They want us to make sure we’re helping nourish that, that we’re not having clients that are saying you know, they want to see a different statement. But they don’t want to it somewhere else. They want to be there and I can feel that from talking to them.
Thompson: What is it that they want? Because there are also reports that some of them may bring lawsuits against Morgan Stanley. Do they want they want different retention clauses? Do they want bigger bonuses?
Fleming: They are not looking for any of those things. These advisors are looking to make sure that the technology platform that they’re working on works on a day to day basis for them and for their clients. That’s all.