Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s new brokerage technology platform has been beset by glitches that have frustrated the firm’s financial advisers and made a long and costly merger more expensive, brokers and other people familiar with the situation said.
The business, the result of a 2009 combination of Citigroup’s (C.N) Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley’s (MS.N) retail brokerage into an operation that now employs nearly 17,000 advisers overseeing $1.7 trillion in assets, transferred Smith Barney brokers to the new system in three waves this year.
The platform - called “3D” in a nod to its “multidimensional design” - is intended to let the firm’s army of brokers do everything from trading stocks and picking fund managers to helping clients manage their risks. Morgan Stanley promised brokers a state-of-the-art system that would combine the best of both firms and enable advisers to give the most insightful financial advice in the business.
The three-year integration of the businesses has largely been completed, but the finished system is disappointing to many brokers, according to interviews with a dozen current and former employees of the firm.