Morgan Stanley buys another retirement planning firm – InvestmentNews

Morgan Stanley continued its buying spree, announcing Thursday that it was acquiring a Denver-area institutional retirement planning firm with $72 billion in assets, Cook Street Consulting.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A Morgan Stanley spokesperson confirmed the acquisition. The deal is expected to close next month.

Cook Street is the second retirement planning firm that Morgan Stanley has acquired recently; in September, the company closed its acquisition of the Hyas Group, an institutional consulting firm with $43 billion in fee-based assets that manages retirement money for smaller businesses. 

The purchase of Cook Street Consulting, which has 160 institutional clients representing nearly 1 million plan participants in defined-contribution retirement plans, demonstrates Morgan Stanley’s willingness to build the firm and gather assets with strategic acquisitions.

In February 2020, Morgan Stanley announced that it was buying ETrade Financial Corp. for $13 billion in stock. A year earlier, it said it was buying Solium Capital Inc.’s stock plan business for $900 million. Morgan Stanley also completed its $7 billion purchase of fund manager Eaton Vance last year.

Cook Street Consulting has five partners and a 30-person team. The firm ranked fifth on Barron’s 2021 list of top institutional consulting firms.

Morgan Stanley has been reeling in assets of late. The firm and its close to 16,000 financial advisers brought in record net new assets last year of $437.8 billion, for an annual growth rate of 11%, the company reported last month.

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