Morgan Stanley Plans $2,500-an-Hour Analyst Fees

Morgan Stanley Plans $2,500-an-Hour Analyst Fees

Morgan Stanley plans to charge about $2,500 an hour for private meetings with its stock analysts, almost twice the rate of many top corporate lawyers, once new European Union financial rules kick in next year. according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The fee is on top of the annual rate Morgan Stanley plans to charge some clients for basic access to its equity research portal once the MiFID II regulations come into force in January, the people said, asking not to be named as the negotiations are private.

The bank also quoted a small client $25,000 annually for five users for basic equity research access and five total hours of analyst time, another person said.

The price tag for meetings makes the time of a Morgan Stanley analyst more valuable than even a top commercial lawyer -- the hourly rate for a partner at a prestigious London law firm can be as much as 1,100 pounds ($1,450), according to one analysis last year.

The one-on-one meeting prices can vary depending on the seniority and ranking of the analyst, the people said.

Still Haggling

With less than three months to go before the European Union’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive kicks in on Jan. 3, investment banks are still haggling with their money-manager clients about how much to charge them for research and advice.

Under the revised rules, analyst notes and other services must be paid for separately from trading commissions.

A Morgan Stanley representative declined to comment.

Prices have varied widely by bank as the industry struggles to value analysis that was typically distributed for free.

The cost quoted to clients also depends on the size of a firm and the level of access sought.

The bank’s pricing after MiFID II is being driven by how often and how many users at a client access written research as well as how much time they spend with analysts, according to global research head Simon Bound.

Clients are being much more disciplined “about what resources they are consuming, which historically hasn’t always been the case,” Bound said in an interview last month.

“We have for a number of years done a very good job of monitoring where our analysts spend their time. That’s been very helpful.”

Slashed Spending

McKinsey & Co. estimates investors will slash more than $1 billion of spending as they become pickier about what they pay for, with most only willing to fork out for analysts with the best track records.

An equities analyst working at an investment bank or brokerage in London is paid about $455,000 including bonus annually, according to data compiled by Emolument.com.

That is based on remuneration for a managing director.

UBS Group AG is proposing to charge clients about $40,000 a year to access basic equity research, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

Barclays Plc is also pricing its read-only European research at about $40,000, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. is suggesting as little as $10,000 a year, the lowest price to emerge so far for analysis of stocks, people with familiar with the pricing have said.

Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan has said that the world’s biggest investment banks may emerge as winners once MiFID II takes effect -- the company’s status as the biggest equities trading firm gives it an advantage as asset managers trim the ranks of trading counterparties they use.

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