Morgan Stanley Prepares for 2020 With Job Cuts

The bank is laying off about 2% of its workforce in a move that reflects its concerns over the economic outlook.
Matthew HellerDecember 10, 2019

Morgan Stanley is ending the year by cutting about 1,500 jobs, or roughly 2% of its workforce, as it prepares for what it expects will be tougher market conditions in 2020.

According to CNBC, the layoffs will skew toward technology and operations roles, the source said. Morgan Stanley had 60,532 employees as of Sept. 30.

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Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman

For its most recent quarter, the bank reported $10.1 billion in revenue, exceeding analysts’ average estimate by approximately $500 million, but compensation expenses crept higher.

“We remain committed to controlling our expenses,” CEO James Gorman said at the time.

Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist, has predicted that by April, “the liquidity tailwind will fade” and “the outlook for fundamentals is less certain for 2020 than for 2018/19 given more developed trade tensions, an election, and a weaker U.S. economy.”

As CNN reports, the job cuts at Morgan Stanley come as “Wall Street firms face pressure to restrain spending to offset a challenging environment of low interest rates, slow economic growth, and vanishing volatility in financial markets” and as “traditional bank jobs are being disrupted by artificial intelligence and other new technologies.”

Some European banks have also eliminated jobs in a bid to control costs, with Deutsche Bank launching a dramatic overhaul in July aimed at slashing its workforce by 18,000.

Morgan Stanley shares have climbed 25% this year amid a broad rebound in bank stocks.

“Since the top imperative for CEO James Gorman and the bank’s [board] is to keep the stock price rising in 2020 and repurchasing even more stock, it means that buybacks will take increasing precedence over full-time employees,” ZeroHedge said.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

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