(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley promoted 153 employees to the title of managing director on Thursday, an increase from the 144 that were elevated to the position last year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a company spokesman.
The new class of managing directors includes 41 women, or 27 percent of the total - the highest in the firm's history, Morgan Stanley spokesman Wesley McDade Morgan told the Journal.
Dade did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.
The New York-based firm's securities business, which includes its trading and investment-banking arms, had the greatest share of the new class, with 72 managing directors, according to the Journal report. (http://link.reuters.com/ced26v)
Ninety-eight, or 64 percent of the total, work in the United States, 34 are employed in Europe, the Middle East or Africa, and 21 work in Asia, the WSJ report said.
Morgan Stanley will also pay out some deferred bonuses from 2012 to senior bankers in immediate cash, Bloomberg reported separately on Thursday, citing a person briefed on the plan. (http://link.reuters.com/bed26v)
The bank will still defer at least half of the bonuses for any employees that have a total pay of at least $350,000 and incentive pay of $50,000, the unnamed source told Bloomberg.
Morgan Stanley is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on Friday.
(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)