Morgan Stanley posts highest profit since financial crisis

Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:13pm EDT
 
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By Anil D'Silva and Avik Das

(Reuters) - Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley reported its most profitable quarter since the financial crisis on Monday, boosted by higher revenue from trading bonds and equities.

The bank's trading business, like those of its main rivals, got a boost in the quarter after the Swiss central bank scrapped a cap on the franc, the European Central Bank announced its quantitative easing program and the U.S. Federal Reserve took steps toward tightening monetary policy.

Global stocks also generally performed strongly.

Morgan Stanley capped a mostly strong quarter for the big U.S. banks with its 60 percent rise in net profit, followed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, whose profit jumped 41 percent.

"We did not dial up risk to generate these earnings," Chief Executive James Gorman said on a call to discuss what he described as the bank's "strongest quarter in many years."

Morgan Stanley is focusing less on bond markets and more on managing money for the rich as a way to free up capital and meet stricter regulatory rules imposed since the financial crisis.

Net income applicable to the bank's common shareholders rose to $2.31 billion, or $1.18 per share, in the quarter, from $1.45 billion, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

It was the bank's most profitable quarter since the second quarter of 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data.   Continued...

 
The corporate logo of financial firm Morgan Stanley is pictured on the company's world headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 20, 2015.    REUTERS/Mike Segar