Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman was not satisfied with his firm's financial performance in 2009 and believes it is time the firm begins carrying out its business plan after a make-over of key businesses.

In an annual letter to shareholders, Gorman said he was disappointed that the firm reported an annual loss in a year when rival banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc rebounded sharply from the financial crisis. But he also said Morgan Stanley is now positioned to compete.

We have a powerful mix of businesses that, together, offer important strategic benefits -- as well as the right balance of capital, earnings and risk to deliver strong, sustainable earnings over the long term, Gorman said. Now we need to execute.

Gorman said his goal was for Morgan Stanley to rank in the top three in the key businesses in which the firm operates.

He emphasized the significance of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney retail brokerage joint venture, noting that by the end of 2009 it had realized $445 million of the targeted $1.1 billion in cost savings.

Gorman said the joint venture, which created the largest retail brokerage, would play an increasingly important role in our growth and profitability.

He also noted the revitalization of the firm's sales and trading business, which has senior hires and more than 350 new professionals. Morgan Stanley scaled back trading risk after the financial crisis, but bolstered its trading ranks last year after missing out on windfall trading profits.

Gorman also weighed in on regulatory reform, saying we need to ensure that nothing like the financial crisis of 2008 ever happens again.

He said Morgan Stanley believes that fundamental regulatory reform is critical for our industry.

Gorman's note to shareholders comes after Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer, issued their note to shareholders defending the firm's actions during the financial crisis.

Gorman took over as CEO on January 1, replacing John Mack, who has remained as chairman. Gorman, who was co-president, has shaken up senior management since taking the helm of the firm.

(Reporting by Steve Eder; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Gunna Dickson)