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Morgan Stanley could pursue 'string' of investment management deals

Morgan Stanley could pursue a "string" of acquisitions to help build out its investment management offerings, Chairman and CEO James Gorman said on an earnings conference call.

Inorganic growth is a key part of the company's strategy to build its investment management business, Gorman said, but the company is not seeking a mega-asset management deal. Fixed income is one potential target area, as that business is smaller than Morgan Stanley would like, Gorman said, calling it "more of a scale-driven business."

Gorman added that Morgan Stanley could also build out various areas, including the equities side of the business, by acquiring teams or small firms. In the alternative space, the company in 2018 acquired Mesa West Capital LLC, which added a commercial real estate credit platform to the investment management business.

"That was sort of our little test tube, getting our foot back in the water," Gorman said.

The CEO also noted private equity, infrastructure funds or the mezzanine platform as other areas the company could look to further expand.