Morgan Stanley Touts Stock-Picking Prowess With Twitter Timing

(Bloomberg) -- One way Morgan Stanley’s proving that stock picking still matters is by showing off its timing in technology stocks.

A Morgan Stanley equity fund bought Facebook Inc. before the initial public offering and sold stock last year, then bought Twitter Inc., which rose at a faster pace, according to Dan Simkowitz, the bank’s head of investment management. That fund has beaten its benchmark over the past 15 years, he said.

“Twitter is up 160 percent since Sept. 30 and Facebook is only up 13 percent,” he said at Morgan Stanley’s financial services conference in New York. “To the degree you show those stories to people and then you do it with a 15-year track record, I think there is still value to be had in really concentrated, customized” businesses.

Morgan Stanley is seeking to highlight benefits of active management as passive strategies lure investors. Chief Executive Officer James Gorman has been looking to expand in asset manager with strategies that includes equity funds and more illiquid, alternative assets like real estate and private equity. The firm recently hired a BlackRock Inc. veteran to oversee fixed-income investing.

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