Morgan Stanley has announced that they’ll be removing the ability to apply for a new Access Investing account from December 1, 2022.
An email sent out by Morgan Stanley advises the following:
Morgan Stanley values you as a client and is committed to providing you with information related to your account(s).
Effective December 1, 2022, Access Investing® will no longer be offering the ability to open new accounts. This will have no impact to your existing account(s) and you may continue to fund your account(s). Rebalancing and ongoing maintenance of your account(s) will continue as well, and the ability to adjust your risk tolerance, time horizon and other goal parameters will remain available.
Please note, if you have a draft plan but have not yet completed it, you can still do so prior to December 1st, 2022 by logging on to Morgan Stanley Online. However, after that date, all draft plans will expire.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please review the Access Investing ADV Brochure. You may also contact us at 866-479-1844 (Option 1).
Thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve your financial needs.
The reason why this matters is that the Access Investing account was the cheapest and easiest method to being eligible for the Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum card. As Greg detailed here,
for a cost of ~$300 per year you would be eligible for a $695 Annual Engagement Bonus which offsets the Platinum card’s annual fee. Update: As several people have correctly commented below, what used to be a cost/opportunity cost of ~$300 per year is now much higher than that due to increased interest rates.
In addition to the regular Amex Platinum benefits and welcome offer, the Morgan Stanley Platinum card has a couple of other notable features:
- The ability to cash out Membership Rewards on a 1cpp basis (although the Schwab Platinum card can cash out at 1.1cpp)
- A free Platinum authorized user card which gives the authorized user access to airport lounges including the Centurion Lounge and a Priority Pass membership
While it’s disappointing that Morgan Stanley will be ending Access Investing for new applications, they are at least giving a couple of months notice to give people time to apply by December 1, 2022 and maintaining existing accounts that are open as of that date. If you’ve had your eye on the Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum card, the next few weeks could be a good time to work on that.
Note Access Investing clients will be moved to E-Trade this year, making it difficult for folks to retain MS Plat card (brokerage account requirement)
The 1099s just issued offset fees against engagement bonus. That means the correct play right now is paying the $55 fee and earning the going rate on federal government T-bills to avoid state income tax if high, or whatever high yield money market if you’re in a low tax state.
Is there any way (decent) way to still get a Morgan Stanley account that would qualify for this?
Looks like you can still sign up using this link and continuing as guest.
i called the virtual advisory team and they told me that even over the phone, they are no longer accepting applications for Access Investing. They weren’t sure why the communcation sent out referred to Dec 1st, when they presently aren’t accepting new applications anyways lol
The access investing account sign up now directs to E*Trade core portfolio, how can I sign up for the Morgan Stanley account?
For the $25,000 on deposit, MS waives $660 that they deduct from the account. Shouldn’t that be considered? On the other hand, I could use $10,000 that they are holding to buy an I-bond earning 10%.
Do you get a 1099 for the $695 engagement bonus ?
No 1099. (Technically I think you have to charge some amount on the Platinum, maybe equal to annual fee, I don’t remember exactly but $1,000 at most; I charge my cell phone for the insurance benefit and then what I need to to get the credits and have never gotten a 1099). Others often miss this point in calculating opportunity cost to high yield savings. Better comparison I think is a muni money market.
Granted, MS Cash Plus is not the deal it was now that rates are higher, but if one values the card benefits, is in a high tax bracket, and actually uses it as a checking account as intended/would keep a few thousand in checking anyway (granted not the full 25k) then this is still not a bad deal. That said, I’m not convinced Access accounts get grandfathered long term (See DWT’s comment), so I wouldn’t jump through hoops now if I didn’t have the account.
Yes, any calculation should include marginal tax rates and whether the “engagement bonus” counts as a taxable event.
There’s a different Morgan Stanley account type (a self-directed brokerage account) that has an annual fee of about $150 and will qualify for the Platinum Card. That being said, at 2.5% opportunity cost on $25k is $625. $150+$625=$775. Not a long-term keeper but worth the welcome bonus . . . if you can handle the poor service.
As others have said, this is (at least arguably) no longer a good deal at current interest rates.
Because of the higher available interest rates, I’m looking to close my pre-existing CadhPlus account. I just got my annual engagement bonus last month. Does anybody know what will happen if I close my MorganStanley account? Can I still keep the Amex Plat, or does that get cancelled? Do they clawback the annual engagement bonus somehow? Anything else to worry about?
I just closed it. It was pain that I have to talk to a virtual advisor. Not clawback. I did transfer all the money out first. My Amex platinum still active as well as access investing account.
Thanks. Just wanted to make sure they wouldn’t force-close the plat, or else I’d wait until Jan to get another year of travel credits. Thinking about it, makes sense that I could keep the card since I’d still have the Access account (which I don’t plan to get rid of).
what about if you valued the no-fee authorized user?
ahh nvm , the fee for the AU user is lower than I thought. This post had a real great breakdown: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34801343-post290.html
It is essential to realize that the opportunity cost of keeping $25k in an account has risen a lot since Greg wrote his post. He assumed a 1% interest rate on an alternative savings account. A more realistic rate would be at least 2.5% (Bask Bank offers 2.75%). In that case, it is no longer a good deal since the costs will exceed the benefits.
Yeah, if you’re willing to lock your cash for some time (kind of like what you’d have to keep the card fee free) there’re 3.5-4% options nowadays. No way this makes financial sense.
“for a cost of ~$300 per year”
Isn’t that estimate obsolete? The article from last year says $250 of the cost was based on a 1% interest rate. Bask now offers 2.71% on savings. Or is there a way to recoup some higher interest now with MS? I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle anymore unless you want that free 2nd cardholder.
You’re absolutely correct – I’d forgotten that part of those calculations were based on the interest rate at the time. I’ve updated the post to mention that.
Barons is reporting that existing Access Investing clients will be migrated over to E-Trade sometime in 2023, so it’s uncertain what will happen to people with the MS Amex Plat, whose only MS brokerage relationship is via Access Investing
Morgan Stanley owns E-trade so there will be no issue on those accounts being grandfathered access fwiw