Morgan Stanley Adds Discretionary Services

Financial services provider Morgan Stanley added discretionary capabilities to its defined contribution (DC) retirement plan advisory services.

The firm says the new discretionary services, through which Morgan Stanley assumes certain fiduciary responsibilities related to investment selection and asset-allocation decisions, is available through existing fund selection and asset-allocation programs for plan sponsors. Specifically, the new program enables Morgan Stanley’s corporate retirement directors and Graystone Institutional consulting directors to assume fiduciary status for the plans with which they work.  

The firm says it can now assume responsibility for the discretionary selection and monitoring of investment options within a plan’s investment lineup. In addition, plan sponsors may choose to utilize Morgan Stanley’s strategic risk-based models or target-date model portfolios to provide plan participants with important asset-allocation tools.

The new target date models have been developed by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Global Investment Committee and feature three unique allocation solutions or “glide paths” that adjust equity and fixed-income allocations as participants get closer to retirement.

According to Mike Wilson, the firm’s chief investment officer and head of research, “There’s a need to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all. Different plans have different circumstances, and that means a different complexion of risk for participants.”

He says each of the three allocation options offers protection against different risks that participants are likely to face over time and during retirement. One option offers a greater hedge against longevity and shortfall risk, another hedges against inflation risk and market risk, and the third looks to strike a dynamic balance between inflation and longevity risks. These discretionary offerings help plan sponsors get optimal value for the benefit dollars spent, the firm says.

Graystone Consulting, a business of Morgan Stanley, provides a complete range of investment consulting services to institutional clients, Taft-Hartley funds and family offices. Tailored investment advice is delivered by institutional consulting directors, investment professionals who are backed by a dedicated consulting team and the resources of Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management provides access to a range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, banking services, annuities and insurance, and retirement and trust services.

More information on the new discretionary services is available at and