Morgan Stanley is enrolling its financial advisors in a 150-hour online course in order to equip them with the type of skills expected in a family office.
According to Advisor Hub, the 500-strong private wealth management group’s advisors will be required to complete the course which culminates in a two-day in-person exam, in order to obtain a Family Wealth Director (FWD) designation.
Advisors who fail the tests will be allowed to re-sit them.
Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management group comprises 270 teams, and all will be required to have at least one FWD recipient in their number by the end of 2019.
The course ends with a 100-question-long multiple-choice-exam as well as a case study of a scenario one would be expected to manage when working with an ultra-high-net-worth client.
The program is designed to ensure that advisors are making use of the Family Office Resources unit. Formed in March of last year, the unit comprises 66 specialists that advise UHNWIs and their family offices in issues from tax planning to “lifestyle advisory”.
A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley confirmed the accuracy of Advisor Hub’s article to Private Banker International but opted not to provide further comment.
Findings of a report released in September last year by UBS and Campden Wealth Research found that the average cost of a family office stands at $11.4m per year, with returns averaging 15.5%.
By training its advisors to work with family offices, Morgan Stanley sets to benefit from some of this wealth. However, this training also makes staff more attractive to family office recruiters. Last year, Rockefeller Capital Management poached Morgan Stanley’s chief information officer, Christopher Randazzo, to serve as its head of wealth management and head of technology operations.