What's New at Greenspring

Some Things Never Change…

J. Patrick Collins Jr., CFP®, EA

The sun rising in the east, human ingenuity, the changing of the seasons, wars, and conflicts in the financial services industry.  These are just a few things that will never change.

I joke, but not really.  I hesitate to say that this new story was shocking, since it is something I've now come to expect:  Morgan Stanley Purges Vanguard Mutual Funds.  It is not at all uncommon for a brokerage firm to remove a fund company from its platform, but in this instance, when you read the reason why you'll probably be as upset as I was:

Brokers and consultants said that Morgan Stanley is almost certainly retaliating against Vanguard because of the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based firm’s longstanding refusal to pay for brokerage firm “shelf space” as part of its crusade to keep expenses for investors low.

With all of the "fiduciary" talk continuing to pick up steam, Morgan Stanley (and Merrill Lynch who is also mentioned in the article) have decided to not allow the largest fund company on the planet to offer its funds on their platform.  Not because of poor performance or high risk to shareholders, but because they wouldn't pay-to-play.  Because Vanguard's mission of keeping costs low for shareholders cannot co-exist with Morgan Stanley's need to make a profit.  And our industry wonders why we get a bad reputation?  This is exactly the reason we started Greenspring 13 years ago.  Several of us left the organizations mentioned in this article because we wanted to do what was in our client's best interest.  That often times could mean investing in the lowest cost mutual funds on the market.  Now Morgan Stanley is saying that won't be possible.  As we've said before, if you work with a broker at one of these groups, they are not necessarily bad, but the system is set up against you.  Don't hate the player, hate the game.