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Morgan Stanley Advisor Review

Morgan Stanley is a financial services firm with over $1.3 trillion in AUM. This guide reviews the company’s advisory services.

Morgan Stanley is an international bank and financial services firm based in New York, NY. It ranks 16th place on J.D. Power’s 2023 Investor Satisfaction study, as well as 61st on the Fortune 500 list based on total revenue. Additionally, the company is registered with the SEC as a registered investment advisor (RIA) and as a broker with FINRA.

Chief among the services Morgan Stanley offers are wealth management and financial advice. And, provided you can meet the account minimums, you’ll gain access to either a virtual or dedicated professional to help preserve and grow your money. In this guide, we’ll teach you about the advisory services the firm offers, as well as how much they cost. You’ll also learn about key company information, such as its disclosures and how to open an account.

Assets Under Management

$1.362 trillion as of 2023

Number of Employees


Date Founded



Ted Pick

Fee Structure


Headquarters Address

2000 Westchester Avenue, New York, NY 10577-2530

Phone Number

(888) 454-3965

Pros and Cons of Morgan Stanley


  • Adheres to a fiduciary standard
  • Offers both financial planning and investment management
  • First consultation is free
  • Easy to get started, either online or in-person


  • High account minimums
  • Must invest $500,000 to meet with an in-person advisor
  • Advisors may collect a commission, depending on the service

Match with vetted fiduciary advisors in your area. Answer a few questions to begin.

Types of Clients Morgan Stanley Serves

Morgan Stanley provides financial advisor services to individuals who can meet its minimum asset requirements. The company has two major products that connect you with a human expert — Virtual Advisors and its dedicated Financial Advisor service. Here’s what each account type requires you to have:

Account TypeMinimum Investment
Virtual Advisor$50,000
Financial Advisor$500,000
Private Wealth ManagementNo account minimum listed

Without meeting the account minimums above, you won’t be able to take advantage of either service. You’ll also need to pay fees and commissions as needed. These costs can vary depending on the services you require. Later in the article, we’ll provide more on Morgan Stanley’s fee structure.

Financial Advisor Services Morgan Stanley Offers

As mentioned, Morgan Stanley allows you to work directly with a financial advisor through two tiers, which it dubs Virtual Advisor and Financial Advisor, respectively. The former only gives you access to an expert over the phone or online. The latter, however, lets you work with a dedicated professional in person. Finally, the firm offers a private wealth management service for those with significant assets to handle.

Here’s a detailed overview of what each offers you:

Virtual Advisor

Investing $50,000 or more allows you to work with a Morgan Stanley advisor over the phone or online. The focus of this service is to provide you with the tools to create a comprehensive financial plan that helps you reach your goals. Despite it only being virtual, your advisor will still work with you to build your portfolio, as well as monitor progress using high-end planning tools.

Financial Advisor

With a larger investment of $500,000, Morgan Stanley will grant you a dedicated financial advisor that will help you manage and build your portfolio. This means you can speak with them in person, over the phone, or online. Your expert can give you advice for any aspect of your finances, including:

  • Cash flow planning (budgeting)
  • Retirement
  • Investment and portfolio management
  • Estate planning

The advantage of this tier is that it allows you to develop a rapport with your advisor. Meeting in person gives a professional the chance to truly understand you and your financial goals.

Private Wealth Management

Morgan Stanley also provides private wealth management (PWM) for high-net-worth individuals. While it doesn’t list a specific account minimum on its website, you should assume that you must have at least $1,000,000 in assets, and likely much more, to be eligible. PWM offers similar services as the Financial Advisor tier, but you can expect to leverage the company’s “vast resources” even more for your needs.

Fee Structure

Morgan Stanley charges clients both flat fees and a commission for its advisory services. How you pay largely depends on the services you’re getting in return. For investment advisory, you can expect to pay a flat fee based on your assets.

Financial planning services may require you to pay an additional fee for tools like LifeView Advisor and LifeView Personal Wealth Advisor. Per Morgan Stanley, an expert may charge you anywhere from $250 to $10,000, depending on their credentials. For instance, if a professional has a CFP or CFA designation, they may command more money for their services.

Also, keep in mind that you may end up paying additional fees when you buy and sell securities, as well as fund management costs. Taxes are also an extra strain on any earnings within your portfolio.

Morgan Stanley’s Investment Philosophy

Each Morgan Stanley advisor is likely to follow a different investment philosophy that’s unique to them and their experience. However, most experts will want to work with you to develop a strategy that helps you hit your goals. In general, here are the factors a professional may consider while they help you develop your portfolio:

  • Risk tolerance. How much danger you’re willing to take can impact the investments you make. For instance, a risk taker may end up investing in stocks, while a play-it-safe investor may look toward mutual funds or fixed income securities.
  • Goals. What you’re looking to accomplish heavily affects the strategy an advisor may employ. For example, if you’re saving for college or retirement, a professional may steer you toward investing within specific accounts, as well as targeting safer assets.
  • Time horizon. How much (or little) time you have to reach your goals may inform the type of investments you or your advisor make.
  • Market conditions. The market is volatile and always subject to change. A good investment manager will know this and account for it as they help you decide where to allocate your funds.


Morgan Stanley is an RIA with the SEC and a broker through FINRA. The firm has 170 disclosures, including 60 regulatory events. This is where a company must report criminal or legal proceedings, as well as financial matters it’s involved with.

While disclosures don’t necessarily mean a company is bad or untrustworthy, you should be aware of them. Each firm’s (or individual advisor’s) regulatory events are publicly available through FINRA’s BrokerCheck, as well as the SEC’s Investment Adviser search tool.

Customer Service

Morgan Stanley encourages clients with account or product questions, as well as complaints, to contact their local branch before attempting to use corporate methods. However, if you still need to reach the firm’s main phone numbers, you may do so by calling:

We recommend you visit the firm’s contact page and follow the links it provides for any other inquiries that apply to you.

How to Get Started with Morgan Stanley

To start working with a Morgan Stanley professional, you’ll need to first go to the firm’s website and select the product that most suits you. For Virtual Advisor, you can either call (866) 743-5700, Monday-Friday, 8am-7:30pm ET, or go online to schedule a consultation. For its in-person service, you may contact a local branch and schedule a visit.

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm

Finding the right advisor firm for your needs can be difficult. The most important thing is that you pick a company you’re comfortable with and that aligns with your goals. Also, for any prospective organization, you’ll want to research its professionals and ensure they’re qualified.

Cost is another consideration you’ll need to make. Fees can add up quickly, especially if you factor in transaction and fund management costs as your portfolio grows. Minimum investment requirements may also limit the products you have access to. As you look into a firm, be sure to carefully assess its fee structure and asset minimums.

If you need help with your research, we recommend using this matching tool. After filling out a short quiz about your current financial situation and goals, it’ll connect you with up to three vetted fiduciary advisors near you.


This review is based on publicly available information directly from Morgan Stanley’s website, the SEC, and FINRA. Neither the firm nor its representatives have any say on what we’ve included on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Morgan Stanley advisors make money?

Advisors at the firm make money from both commissions and flat fees. The products and services you buy dictate how your expert gets paid. For instance, if you hire one for financial planning, you’ll have to pay a flat rate. But if you require investment advisory, you may end up paying a commission for certain products you buy.

What is a Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor?

This refers to an advisor you communicate with over the phone or online. To access this service, you’ll need to make an initial investment of at least $50,000.

Is a Morgan Stanley Advisor worth it?

This depends on the services you need and how much you value financial advice. The company’s minimum investment requirements are steep, especially since you can only talk to a virtual advisor with the lowest tier. However, if you have complex needs or don’t know where to turn, it’s likely worth it to work with a firm like Morgan Stanley.

How much does an initial consultation with a Morgan Stanley advisor cost?

Initial consultations with Morgan Stanley are free of charge. However, any other visits will require you to meet the asset minimums and pay according to the firm’s fee structure.