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Morgan Stanley CFO sees 'negative bias' toward net interest income in Q4

Morgan Stanley expects the downward movement of interest rates to put some pressure on net interest income in the fourth quarter, CFO Jonathan Pruzan said during a third-quarter earnings conference call.

Pruzan said the recent interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve will more than offset Morgan Stanley's stable deposit funding and expected growth in wealth management loan balances. He did not provide guidance but said he anticipated a "negative bias towards NII" in the fourth quarter.

"When we get into next year, we'll give you some more thoughts around it," he said. "There's just a lot of variables right now, but clearly, a low rate and a declining rate environment puts negative pressure on NII."

Lower interest rates tend to increase mortgage prepayments as clients refinance their loans, and Morgan Stanley has seen some of the activity hurt its net interest income in 2019. Through the first three quarters, Morgan Stanley reported wealth management net interest income as being flat year over year at about $3.19 billion. However, excluding the impact of mortgage prepayments expense, net interest income is up mid-single digits year over year for the first three quarters, Pruzan said.

He added that Morgan Stanley expects to continue growing wealth management loan balances, which were up 3% sequentially and 8% year over year at $76.6 billion.