The Aussie Corporate

Morgan Stanley

Lean, mean, money machine

AusCorp Remarks

Founded decades ago by the grandson of J.P. Morgan and some guy with the last name Stanley, Morgan Stanley is amongst the elite globally when it comes to investment banks. In fact, it is widely recognised as being in the top 3 after Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Morgan Stanley has been active in the market for over 50 years in Australia and with that time, they have a well established practice with offices in both Sydney and Melbourne. 

Though the name is recognised worldwide as a force to reckoned with, Morgan Stanley operates very differently down under compared to in the US. In Australia, the firm runs a “very lean shop”, especially for a bulge bracket investment bank and comparative to its competitors. As a result, teams are comparatively smaller and so you would expect to have a flatter hierarchy and greater responsibility from day 1 on the job. 

Of course, this naturally translates to long hours behind the screen, especially since deal flow for Morgan Stanley is nothing to be scoffed at.  Days spanning from 9am – 1am are quite typical for this house. But for running an operation of its size, it sure punches above its weight in terms of its intake of high quality work. In particular, it runs a strong horse in capital markets which meant that unlike other banks last year, it held its place quite well in terms of league tables.

Everything we’ve mentioned so far is aligned to its high-performance culture (not unusual for a bulge bracket US bank), though it seems it has struck a good balance. Again, unlike other banks last year, their ranks have not (yet) been decimated by raid parties from rivals and turnover has not been too high (relatively). It is always hard to tell what a firm’s culture is like but high turnover is a telltale sign of a bad one, and vice-versa. Of course, we should caveat any optimism with this firm as there will always be exceptions.

Morgan Stanley does not match the top payer amongst the investment banks in the market but its remuneration is nothing to be scoffed at. It is probably worth a quick plug here for our salary guides if you’re interested in this kind of stuff. The firm provides stellar support to its bankers and given the firm’s time here, there is a wealth of resources for you to learn and ply your trade with. 

We have heard that the seniors here are also generally quite friendly and down to earth, and so informal training is quite forthcoming. As an added bonus, formal training for grads will land you a trip to New York so there’s always that to look forward to if you are so fortunate to be in that position.

Final appraisal

Quality of work
Perks (including salary and bonus)
Prestige / Reputation
Training and support
Working hours

From the horse's mouth

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