Morgan Stanley Review

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is Now Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Smith Barney customer reviews: complaints, positive feedback from clients, pros and cons. Is the broker good/safe?

In 2012 Morgan Stanley announced that its U.S. wealth management business, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, has been renamed Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (MSWM).

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Smith Barney Customer Reviews

by Karen, 1/17/2018


Cons: Very poor and unfair customer experience

SBMS was my firm for 15 years. When they let my broker go without notice I moved my accounts to a local broker with another firm. MSSB charged me a account transfer fees , which I understand BUT ON THE SAME DAY THEY CHARGED ACCOUNT TRANSER FEES THEY ALSO CHARGED THE FULL ANNUAL ACCOUNT MANAGMENT FEES AND WOULD NOT CONSIDER MY OFFER TO PRORATE THE ANNUAL FEE I WAS TOLD TO CEASE COMMUNICATION WITH THE FIRM This just served to affirm I made the right decision to no longer be a customer of MSSB!!

by Sharon Stafford re: Jackie D. Stafford Account, 3/2/2017

Pros: none

Cons: After death of Jackie 7 months ago, this firm is srill refusing to pay out Jackies IRA. account to his 5 heirs.

Following the death of Jackie D. Stafford 7 months ago, this firm is still refusing to pay his IRA account to Jackies heirs. PLEASE NEVER allow these people to ever have one red cent of your money. They will keep it forever. I was told they could hold it for years by their Risk management advisor, Justin Moore.

by sad customer, 7/6/2016


Cons: absolutely no help lost money and lost money and lost money

invested 27000 after years and years they just keep loosing money.They are no help and make you feel completely inadequate, its just $27,000 what is the big deal...

by Anonymous, 1/2/2015


Cons: Bad customer service experience

Awful. Obviously you have no concern for your customers satisfaction.

by Unhappy 02-05-13, 2/6/2013

Pros: None

Cons: Everything

My employer set up the company 401k with them and it was nothing but terrible. Within 1 year of setting up the plan we had 3 different financial advisers.The web access was always needing to be updated. A few times my accounts stopped showing up but after several phone calls I would get my access back. When I left my employer I could not wait to roll over my funds. This was an ordeal itself. Now they are refusing to issue my 1099R.

by farquahr, 2/4/2013

Pros: none

Cons: con artists

Some years ago my mom and dad were seeking to invest during their upcoming retirement. They were looking for safety with a reasonable return. They had the misfortune of being recommended to Arthur Tuttle at Smith Barney. He took advantage of their naivete and they trusted a fellow church member. They were sold the proverbial "bill of goods" and in a matter of months lost $30,000. When questioned by my folks in front of the church, his answer was "We all lost money" and strode off. They were left holding the bag and he garnished a great commission for selling them crap. His efforts gained him a vice-president position and my parents feeling embarassed, used and demoralized. I hope he gets what he deserves some day.

by jaybee, 3/16/2012

Pros: none

Cons: many, some listed in review

Do not invest with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in general. Customer service is awful.... And they do not invest wisely... I waited on the phone each time I called over 30 min..... Also, I wanted to close my account they still did not and left $5 in there so I had to call again to ask them to write a check. Another 40 min and the customer service agent was rude to me.. Stay far away from them! Unless you like to waste your time and money....

by mf, 10/10/2011

Pros: used to be ok

Cons: exorbitant $150.00 junk fee for fma account

they stuck me with this huge fee for online access without any prior advanced notice. I do not recommend this brokerage to anyone

by gkhealthy, 8/19/2010

Pros: none


I advised a friend who wanted to know what we were currently investing in. He is with Smith Barney out of Minneapolis. I gave him the one we were currently hot on. He decided to get his toes wet and buy 200 shares at a total cost of 1400 dollars. He sold 27,000 dollars worth of stock to free up cash. I had told him to ask what the cost would be before he did anything with his broker. He was told the broker was not sure, but it wouldn't be bad. He received a bill for 740 dollars a few days later. Simply outrageous, arrogant, and ethically bankrupt (same transaction costs me $5.90).

by Osbornejdo, 7/12/2010

Pros: I can't think of any.

Cons: Outrageously expensive

This brokerage firm was chosen for me by the company I worked for as the processor for my stock option awards. This was convenient for my employer, but not for me. Citi Smith Barney made it all but impossible to change my mail address when I retired and moved to a different state.
When I transferred all my shares to Ameritrade, SB charged me $95 to transfer 20 shares. This is an outrageous amount! Share transfer is a simple electronic transaction, done in a few seconds. There is no need for this kind of fee.
This is the last they will get of my money.
IMHO, "full service" brokers are a huge waste of money. Anyone with some smarts can balance and diversify a portfolio, brokers are always going to be pushing you to churn your holdings, and the "advice" they give serves their goals, not yours.

by Georgie Boy, 7/9/2010



Smith Barney is only interested in what they can make and not what they can do for their clients.They will place you in b shares(not a or c).B shares are the most expensive when you sell them.They do not follow orders when you ask them to sell mutual funds.One example is when i told my finical advisor to sell my IDEX funds and buy CD's.She instead bought me CD's and Bonds.I took a big loss on the bonds later on.When my finical advisor called me to sell something in my portfolio is was only for her gains and not my best interest.I have had several finical advisors and also did some on my own.They are the worst i have ever used.

by Sweet Sue, 6/2/2010

Pros: None

Cons: Manager has all controls, churning accounts

Okay, why do people go to the full service brokerage firms, and I use that term with reservation. Well, I did it with Smith Barney, and it was quite an interesting experience that would be good to share.

When I originally contacted them about opening an account there, one of the big questions was the rate I would be charged on the margin account. The manager was more than willing to agree to my terms so we opened our account at a branch in the northwest.

The first "broker" we were given, was not any older than our children, and frankly could not follow through with anything. So, it was back to the manager, and we were pleased to have an excellent female broker, who was much so, that she quit her job because she felt that they wanted her to churn the account. So she left right after we moved to the midwest, and we transferred the account to a local office near where we were moving.

Well, you don't just transfer an account, you basically open a new one. This was quite an experience because we were not disclosed that the interest rate on the margin account just happened to go up 2% points.....that is at the decision of the manager of each branch. You would think, as we did, that going to a different office of the same company, would mean no changes to any arrangements. That was not the case.

When I confronted the middle aged manager....he basically said he was in charge, and could do anything that he wanted, but "in good faith" he would leave our margin rate the same for 6 months. Big deal! Finally after our broker, who didn't have much of a backbone, refused to intervene on our behalf, I made another fuss. We had done a lot of trading, and frankly I was beginning to feel that they had made enough money off of us.

In the end, they sent us a letter telling us to close our account, and move it somewhere else. We did, it went to Charles Schwab, and that has been most pleasant. I will write a review on that at a later date. But, beware of Smith Barney, each branch is different, and again that manager has all the control. Kind of a scarry thing! Happy investing!

by brysontn, 4/26/2010



I finally took my money out and have never been happier. I was with SB when they were called E F hutton if that gives you any indication of how long i have been investing money. I never paid fees to manage a account until 2002. There fees have risen from 40 dollars to 90 dollars in the last 2 years. There explaination to me was all the other brokerage firms are doing it. So I guess that makes it right, in there eyes. they should back to there roots, When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen...

by IXCatx, 2/15/2010



My account has lost value. The financial advisor is not very helpful. Told me that she was investing in one fund, but sent me a different one. The fees are outrageous. Low balance fees every quarter. When I asked the advisor about the fees, she suggested transferring to a different company because the fees are too high.
Sooo.... trying to transfer is even more headaches. They require medallion stamps, but their offices don't even have one. Of course, they want a transfer fee and a debit fee.
It's been months of hassle. I think they just drag it out to get more fees.
stay away from this company, it's only for big investors.

by Invisible Art, 1/6/2010



They started charging $35 a quarter because I didn't have enough invested with them. That helped me realize that I had too much invested with them. After 20 years of declining service and higher fees, I'm jumping ship.

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Smith Barney reviewed by former and current clients. Smith Barney customer reviews: 15. Rating: 1.