MS Wealth Management ?

I recently got an internship offer from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, NJ office.Non-target school finance and business analytical master degree. I will graduate this May and I have studied for CFA, FRM. I want to land a job at Asset Management company and I know MS has investment management.I'm confused with wealth management and asset management, what's the difference? is it a sales job for wealth management?Also, I'm thinking whether I should find a equity research job(such as Susquehanna International Group?)to gain some technical skills in order to have better exit options?

Comments (26)

Jan 19, 2017 - 2:57pm
BobTheBaker, what's your opinion? Comment below:
there is no feasible path to move from WM to IM

I can't stress this enough. As someone who is trying to gtfo of PWM, do not think you will simply "lateral" from MS PWM to MS IM.


  • 2
Jan 19, 2017 - 3:05pm
Yao-Ding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks very much for your reply.I'm really confused now, since I'm still planning for my career, I don't know what I should do after this internship to land an Asset Management position in the end.

Best Response
Jan 20, 2017 - 7:47am
djtalon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would agree with BobTheBaker. I'll speak for myself, having been in PWM/FA for 5 years and a PM for 3. My job, although much more investment related than that of the advisor, is still very top-down, asset allocating, cash raise/implementation. To do well in PWM, you need to understand asset classes, the goals and objectives of your clients, risk management, tax efficiency, asset location, as well as many other CFA Level III concepts. PWMs (well, RIAs) generally make money from an AUM fee (ie. 1.25% of assets under management) so that there are no conflicts of interest and the firm can act as a fiduciary.

Granted - I've never been in IM or ER myself, but I'm trying to break in. Although I have my CFA charter and have shown growth and work ethic in my first 5 years out of undergrad, I have not felt that I could "simply 'lateral' from PWM to IM." Although I've developed a basic top-down understanding of the world economy, the ability to meet with investors, and to offer the "advisor's alpha" (TY Vanguard), I just haven't accumulated the bottoms-up analytical hard skills (ie. financial modeling, research report writing, earnings call processing, etc.) that I feel I need to make an equal lateral to ER.

That said, wherever you decide to go, GET YOUR CHARTER.

Jan 23, 2017 - 3:47pm
BreakingOutOfPWM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you don't get an AM role out of the gate, big 4 accounting+ CFA + CPA is probably the next best thing for a transition later.

That being said - I know a lot of people at my pwm firm that transitioned to Asset Management. You probably won't do it with the same firm, and you might need to take steps along the way (i.e. joining the capital markets team then transitioning to a research role). But I've seen it done. Almost always in the first 2 years of a career. Most common is to finish CFA LI or LII and make the transition then. Also, it helps a lot if you're at a big name pwm firm (MS/GS/Northern/BNY/UBS/US Trust/JP Morgan, etc).

Go to CFA events, even as a candidate it's great networking.

Feb 9, 2017 - 12:38pm
Yao-Ding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much. Now my supervisor said I would likely to get a full-time position at this branch. And what I'm doing now is research and portfolio construction etc. My supervisor is an analyst which is rare within wealth management branch. And he also says he could refer me to NY, but I'm not sure what's the process for referral, should I find a position first? or he tells me the opportunity. Also I'm considering it may have more opportunities to get formal training right out of school if I choose NY.

Jan 23, 2017 - 5:00pm
A Friend, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The difference between AM and WM is that in AM you deal with institutional clients, such as pension funds, whereas you deal with wealthy individuals in WM. If you want a job in AM, research would probably be a better place to start out than WM. You're graduating pretty soon, if this is your only offer take it of course.

Feb 9, 2017 - 12:41pm
Yao-Ding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you for your response. My supervisor is a wealth management analyst so what I am doing now is research ,portfolio construction and asset allocation. He said he would like to provide a full-time for me and also if I want, refer me to NY. I haven't talked with him about the referral thing, I don't know whether it's ok to transfer department . But I guess NY would have more opportunities for me to get training and socializing.

Feb 9, 2017 - 2:19pm
Axiom_Company, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My friend at MSIM said they look down on MS Wealth management/FA. There is no career path from WM -> IM. IM hires research people. The skills developed in Wealth management include cold calling and smooth talk.

Feb 9, 2017 - 2:27pm
BobTheBaker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I work in WM for a BB and I neither cold call nor do I really ever talk to clients.... I do performance attribution, performance reporting, account reconciliation, a bit of equity research, and I build portfolio management models. Not saying you're wrong about the perception of WM but there is more nuance in the field than you think. My bosses (the FAs and our PM) don't just throw clients into a pre-determined set of mutual funds (actually we use no mutual funds in our portfolios) and ETFs. There is real stock picking going on.


  • 2
Feb 9, 2017 - 3:32pm
Yao-Ding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's true, there are different roles within WM. My supervisor is an analyst and he is doing exactly what you are doing right now, more investment

Feb 9, 2017 - 3:33pm
localhero, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Help! No Job offers lined up...take MS Wealth Management? (Originally Posted: 06/11/2015)

Hi all,

So I'm graduating next week with a pretty shit GPA (3.4) from a non-target, some experience, but nothing spectacular. No offers lined up. Although I had interviews for S&T at several BBs (GS/MS/BofA) and several MM firms (Jefferies, local MMs, etc.)...I just couldn't convert.

Now my only offer lined up is joining an established team at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in an analyst-type role.

The thing is, I'm currently in networking with several alums in Asset Management and MM institutional equity sales. Ultimate goal is either AM or S&T.

My conflict here I wait until I can secure a job offer in a field I want to work in OR do I take the Wealth Management offer and look for something else, inevitably burning that bridge with the team if I do decide to switch into a different job.

Help, I have student loans that will need to be paid off and also helping pay for my brother's college education. Not really sure what I should be doing here.

Appreciate blunt honesty and advice, thanks.

Feb 9, 2017 - 3:34pm
RedChamps, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You graduated from a non-target with a 'pretty shit' gpa, no spectacular work experience, and yet scored a gig in FO at Morgan Stanley..mate, you should be grateful.

Take the offer, keep in touch with your contacts, build your network, and fucking hustle. You will reach your goal eventually.

Feb 9, 2017 - 3:35pm
oreos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Take it. PWM is a great career.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
Feb 9, 2017 - 3:37pm
StaphyBone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Stop being an entitled bitch. Take the job offer, work your ass off, and prove your self to the next level. Your GPA is fine, your non-target school probably didn't matter.

Accept a job straight out of college and your doing better than what.. 80% of recent grads? Will you make more than $35,000/year? Congrats your in the 1% in the entire world.

How about you go and volunteer for a year to get some perspective on the world.

Feb 9, 2017 - 3:38pm
unemployednsadugh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are you kidding? MS is amazing! What to trade? I graduated from an ivy league and can't get any bulge brackets for private wealth/ wealth management.

Any tips/ advice to spare on how you got the job?

Feb 9, 2017 - 3:39pm
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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