Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is encouraging reps to open more online accounts. And to boost productivity, MSDW producers are being urged to move smaller, inactive accounts to MSDW Online, the discount unit.
Meanwhile, the firm is offering incentive trips for brokers who are the most successful in opening online accounts. Brokers can win by either referring accounts to MSDW Online or by opening full-service, fee-based Choice accounts. A Monte Carlo vacation is open to the top 400 brokers who bring in the most assets by Nov. 30. A Las Vegas vacation is being offered to any broker who sets up 100 new online accounts.
"We expect there will be a big chunk" of brokers who win a trip, according to a firm spokesperson.
One MSDW broker says the firm is pushing reps to move smaller accounts (less than 25,000 dollars) to MSDW Online. An MSDW executive says the firm will give reps 25 percent of their grid payout on online trades done by accounts they refer to the discounter. That amounts to about 3 dollars a ticket.
By sending small accounts to MSDW Online, the firm hopes productivity will improve. MSDW has expanded three call centers and boosted technology to handle these clients' service needs, the executive says.
But the MSDW broker asks, "If I push my clients online, what do they need me for?" And trips send "the wrong message" to clients, he adds. Brokers haven't all gotten the message, either. This broker was not aware of the incentive trips.