US custodian bank Morgan Stanley has strengthened its hand in Europe with its acquisition of the global custody business of Barclays Global Securities Services (BGSS).

Morgan Stanley netted $250bn of BGSS assets which brings its global franchise to some $390bn.

Morgan’s European chairman Sir David Walker says the US bank’s European presence will be boosted by BGSS business and it will become an in-creasingly major player there. Already, it has offices in Amsterdam, Geneva, Luxembourg, Madrid, Moscow, Paris and Zurich, in addition to its London headquarters. So what does BGSS bring to the party?

France: Morgan is gaining the BGSS securities dealing, handling and custody service for institutional and retail clients that has been automated for settlement and delivery. BGSS kept abreast of the reform and computerisation of the French market and had benefited as a result.

Italy: The BGSS securities dealing, handling and custody service for non-resident investors is claimed to be one of the most efficient in the Milan marketplace. Business in Italy had risen significantly, with referrals from the UK and Japan.

Netherlands: The BGSS business has grown dramatically there for non-resident institutions in recent years.

Spain: This market is seen as having growth potential, where Morgan gain securities handling and custody servicers for both domestic and non-domestic investors.

Switzerland: The acquisition should bolster Morgan with securities dealing, handling and custody, as well holding precious metals.