The results captured the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In explaining the numbers and looking ahead, the senior leaders of the three firms had a common message — the industry is in uncharted territory.
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA/MERRILL LYNCH: We have seen major disruption of financial markets that affect every line of business as customers move to stay-at-home status through voluntary and involuntary measures.
CHARLES SCHARF, CEO, WELLS FARGO: We’ve entered into world we haven’t seen before. Much of the economy is essentially closed. Unemployment has grown beyond what we’ve traditionally modeled. And while there is hope that this is time-bound by shelter-in-place orders, we don’t know what the timeframe is or how quickly the economy will recover when these orders are lifted. What we do know is the contraction is real, and we must do all we can to be safe, and to ensure we do our part to help recover as quickly as possible.
JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: We’re in a most unprecedented environment. I mean if you said three months ago, that 90% of our employees would be working from home and the firm would be functioning fine, I’d say that that is a test I’m not prepared to take, because the downside of being wrong on that is massive.
We’re seeing the jobs numbers and the applications for unemployment benefits, etc. coming through. We’re in an extraordinary period.
MIRIAM ROZEN: This is Miriam Rozen of Financial Advisor IQ.