Morgan Stanley expanding further into Canada with new wealth management service

One year after Morgan Stanley acquired Calgary-based Solium Capital, the American financial giant is expanding further in Canada with the launch of a wealth management division.

The company is pushing ahead with the new venture despite the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic and expects to have regulatory approval for the new service by the end of the year.

The specific number of new jobs created was not provided, although they will include executive and financial advisor positions, among others.

“You will see new bodies and new roles in both Calgary and Toronto as of now and potentially other cities as well, as we continue to launch and ramp up the business,” said Laura Adams, head of institutional distribution in Canada and the new wealth management service.

“We will absolutely be pursuing growth in the future and we will continue to build out the teams appropriately in their respective offices once we start executing.”

Morgan Stanley paid $1.1 billion to acquire Solium in May of last year. After launching in 1999, Solium became Calgary’s homegrown tech “unicorn” after establishing itself as a leading provider of technology and services for managing a company’s employee ownership options.

The firm had 450 employees in Calgary (800 in total around the world), but has added another 100 staff members in the city since the deal with Morgan Stanley.

In the investing world, tech companies that hit the $1-billion valuation mark are dubbed “unicorns” because of the statistical rarity and nearly mythical nature of the feat.

Former Solium chief executive Marcos Lopez said Calgary needs to keep its ‘can-do’ spirit to remain an attractive place for new startups.

“I think Calgary has got a unique quality of life that doesn’t exist in other parts of Canada in the same way,” he said. “If we can attract the right people, and then the right capital, I think we can be a vibrant location.”

Although, with so many people continuing to work from home during the pandemic, a company’s address is not as significant as it once was.

“Location probably matters less today than it ever has. We’re all stuck in our houses,” he said, with a laugh.

Solium was rebranded as Shareworks by Morgan Stanley. The company plans to leverage the 350 Canadian companies and 275,000 stock plan clients who already use that service to help launch the new wealth management offering. 

Lopez, who remains with Shareworks, said the company has expanded and won business in every market that it competes in.

Morgan Stanley has operated in Canada since the 1960s and employs more than 1,500 people. Shareworks is still based in Calgary and has 3,900 corporate clients in more than 150 countries.

Read more at CBC.ca

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