Two of the largest workplaces for financial advisers, Morgan Stanley & Co., with roughly 16,000 advisers, and Raymond James Financial Inc., with more than 8,000, are targeting a return to the office in September.
Going back to the office after more than a year of remote work will require firms to tread gingerly and keep an open mind to the changes wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, top executives at both firms said. Both also stressed that in-person work boosts employees’ teamwork and collaboration as well as firm culture.
James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, last month said during an investor presentation that he would be “very disappointed” if employees had not returned to the office by Labor Day, or Sept. 6. During a conference call with investors Thursday morning to review quarterly earnings, he reiterated that target but also said, due to the pandemic, he understood the value to employees of working from home.
He added that it was likely for employees to log 80% of their work hours done in office and that working in the office is a better learning environment for staffers.
Raymond James CEO Paul Reilly said in a letter Wednesday to employees and advisers that its goal was to have employees return to the office a week after Labor Day, or Sept. 13.
“Assuming health conditions remain safe, we are planning for a full return on September 13 — with more flexibility but also with a heightened appreciation of in-person work,” Reilly wrote.
Flexibility was key, he noted.
“Unlike many firms that are applying a one-size-fits-all approach to their return to office and future plans, we are working to ensure our businesses and support teams have the flexibility to best serve their clients and stakeholders, while balancing work arrangements to provide associate and advisor flexibility as roles and responsibilities allow,” Reilly added.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management reported another strong quarter of net new assets, although the amount for the three months ending in June was off from the prior quarter. The group reported net new assets of $71.2 billion, down 32% from the quarter ending in March.
Raymond James reports its quarterly earnings later this month.
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