American Economic Liberties Project Statement on Morgan Stanley Merger

February 20, 2020 Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2020

Press Contact: Carli Kientzle at





Washington, DC The following is a statement from Economic Liberties Project Senior Fellow Graham Steele opposing Morgan Stanley acquisition of E*Trade Financial

“The last thing that our economy needs is for one of the ‘Too Big to Fail’ banks to get even bigger. This deal would allow one Wall Street’s biggest banks to accumulate even more market power, giving it more control over working people’s retirement savings and deposits, and putting the public on the hook for even more potential risks. Any public official that is truly concerned about preserving competitive markets and preventing taxpayer bailouts must oppose this acquisition.”

Morgan Stanley is a Global Systemically Important Bank (GSIB), and the nation’s sixth largest bank holding company with $902.6 billion in total assets. E*Trade Financial is the nation’s forty-fourth largest bank holding company with $61.7 billion in total assets. Should their acquisition be approved, the combined company would have $964.3 billion in total assets and $3.1 trillion in assets under management. Under the Bank Holding Company Act and the Bank Merger Act, bank and bank holding company mergers and acquisitions must be reviewed for a variety of factors, including competition, financial stability, and community needs.

Graham Steele is a fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project. He is currently director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining Stanford GSB, Graham was a member of the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He also served as the Minority Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs.


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Economic Liberties works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. AELP believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.