Morgan Stanley Mulls Seeking Regulatory Nod for Share Buyback: Report

Morgan Stanley HQ

Morgan Stanley might seek approval from the U.S. Federal Reserve to repurchase shares for the first time in four years, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the firm's thinking.

The bank, which last bought back shares in 2008, could make the request when it submits plans for its annual stress test in January, the Journal said.

Regular stress tests are part of a more rigorous regime required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act financial oversight law. They are designed to ensure banks have enough capital cushions and are not being overly aggressive in returning cash to shareholders.

"There's an incentive to push for what you can get, but you also don't want" to get denied, a Morgan Stanley official told the Journal.

In March, Citi  (NYSE: C) and MetLife  (NYSE: MET) led a list of financial institutions that failed to get permission to repurchase shares.

As of Sept. 30, Morgan Stanley had about $1.6 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorization, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Share repurchases by the company are subject to regulatory approval, the bank said in the filing.

Morgan Stanley could not be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular business hours.

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