Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jan 16, 2020 • 08:30 am ET
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Non-compensation expenses were driven by higher BC&E expenses related to the launching of new products and reflecting our continued investment into this business. This business continues to grow and we expect it will be an increasingly meaningful contributor to total firm earnings. We continue to look for organic and inorganic opportunities to grow this business and to effectively meet the needs of our clients.
During the fourth quarter, we repurchased approximately 31 million shares or $1.5 billion of common stock, and our Board declared a $0.35 dividend per share. After considering $158 million and $348 million of intermittent net discrete tax benefits, our tax rates were 21.4% and 21.3% for the fourth quarter and full year, respectively. We expect our 2020 tax rate to be slightly higher or approximately 22% to 23% and will exhibit some quarter-to-quarter volatility.
Take it in full, we are pleased with the firm's results this year. We entered 2020 with asset levels at new highs, healthy pipelines, constructive markets, engaged clients and a right sized expense base.
With that, we will now open up the line to questions.