Financial Giant Morgan Stanley Acquires E*Trade in $13B Deal

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Major investment bank Morgan Stanley is buying online trading firm E*Trade Financial Group, which would extend the bank’s offerings to everyday investors.

The $13 billion deal marks Morgan Stanley’s largest takeover since the crisis of 2008, also bringing along E*Trade’s five million clients, $360 billion in assets and an online bank, the Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 20.

With the acquisition of E*Trade, Morgan Stanley will receive over 4,000 corporate customers and $580 billion of stock held on behalf of their employees. At the same time, E*Trade’s CEO, Michael Pizzi will retain its position, and the company will keep its brand, retail storefronts and ad campaigns.

The parties’ involvement with the crypto world

In April, E*Trade announced its plan to begin offering digital currency trading on its platform. At the time, the company was preparing to offer Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) after which it would add other cryptocurrencies.

As for Morgan Stanley, the company was ready to launch swaps tracking Bitcoin futures since early fall in 2018 but did not receive a single contract by the end of that year. Nonetheless, the firm is ready to launch crypto services as soon as there is sign of demand, sources familiar with the matter revealed at the time.

As such, the Wall Street giant postponed its plans to enter the crypto industry more actively as the value of cryptocurrencies fell at the end of 2018.

Morgan Stanley’s former executives in the crypto space

Most recently, eight former core developers from Morgan Stanley launched Phemex, a new cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform, in Singapore. The developers claim the platform is ten times faster than traditional crypto trading platforms, while offering 100x leverage to both retail and institutional investors in BTC, ETH and XRP perpetual contracts.

While Morgan Stanley seems to be reluctant to dive into the cryptocurrency space, some of its former executives turned to the industry. Former Morgan Stanley Asia head of derivatives Jeffrey Wang joined Amber Group, a Shenzhen-based cryptocurrency company, while Noah Perlman, formerly global head of financial crimes and global head of special investigations at Morgan Stanley, was hired by crypto exchange Gemini as its new chief compliance officer.

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