After ranking above archrival Goldman Sachs on the Fortune 500 for the first time since 2012 a year earlier, Morgan Stanley continued to widen the difference in 2017 with revenue jumping 15%. Those gains come as the banks trading performance beat that of Goldman Sachs’ during the year. But the real star of the show was Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business. Much like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley has sought to insulate itself from its often volatile trading division since the financial crisis, instead of focusing on steadier forms of revenue, such as businesses based on fees. That’s where wealth management, which includes Morgan Stanley’s brokerage and investment advisory services, has come in. While the segment accounted for about 19% of the bank’s total $29.8 billion revenue in 2006, that figure is now 44% of its $38 billion in revenue. With the continued growth of that division, Morgan Stanley is targeting a return on equity of between 9% to 13% in the near term.
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