Morgan Stanley has put money management ahead of investment banking since the financial crisis in an effort to make the firm more stable in the next economic downturn. The move may have made the Wall Street firm less risky. But it also made it less profitable. Analysts have been questioning whether the company can break into the double digits on return on equity, a widely watched measure of profitability on Wall Street. In order to get there, CEO James Gorman has been cutting costs, most recently by firing more bond traders in an effort to help the bottom line without hurting sales too much. Gorman will need to get the formula right soon or he could find himself following those bond traders out the door as well.
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