Profits soared while the advisor ranks continued to decline at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, according to the latest quarterly earnings reports.

The firm's profits increased to $535 million from $421 million, up 27% for the same period a year ago, the earnings reports released today show. Total client assets at the same time rose to a record $2.047 trillion, edging the firm past the industry's previous leader Merrill Lynch, a part of Bank of America's wealth management unit.

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