NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley Investment Management is still far from completing its strategy to broaden its alternative and traditional investment operations, despite adding a number of new employees and teams to its business this year, said Owen Thomas, president and chief operating officer.
"We're making progress, but we still have a lot more work to do to build out the business," said Mr. Thomas, who officially took over the top post at Morgan Stanley's $442 billion asset management arm in December.
Specifically, Mr. Thomas said Morgan Stanley Investment Management is still actively looking at bringing on more alternative investment teams from outside the firm, and said officials are evaluating a number of opportunities to either acquire hedge fund specialists or take a partial stake in existing hedge fund managers. "That pipeline is robust," said Mr. Thomas.
Alternative investments made up roughly 4%, or $18 billion, of MSIM's total assets under management at the end of February.
On the traditional side of the business, Mr. Thomas said MSIM is also actively looking to fill gaps in its existing product line, most notably in U.K. and overall global equity strategies.
MSIM has already accelerated its development of new strategies. Since restructuring its investment operations in December, the firm has rolled out 11 new investment products, six of which have been in its alternative investments group. Previously, the firm had typically developed two or three new strategies per quarter, said Mr. Thomas.
Several of these new strategies have been launched by moving employees of parent Morgan Stanley to the investment management business.