Over the past ten years, Morgan Stanley’s operations in Glasgow have grown and grown. Here Margaret Johnson, Executive Director, Human Resources, recaps on some of the most significant milestones and explains why Glasgow has proved such a successful location.
"Let Glasgow flourish" is the city's motto - and it's certainly
been the case for Morgan Stanley over the last ten years.
From an initial team of six employees, hired locally to transition
a settlements function from London, the company's Glasgow office
has expanded to six divisions, supporting functions employing just
over 1,000 people.
Today, Glasgow is Morgan Stanley's fourth largest centre after New
York, London and Hong Kong, with key functions serving operations
all over the globe. The Glasgow operation's success stemmed
initially from two main advantages: a lower cost base for expansion
and the availability of a highly skilled pool of talent.
Looking beyond London
During the boom years of the 1990s, the London operation was
under pressure for space and talent, so the company had to look
further afield to expand. We looked at many of the UK's larger
cities for a location, but it was Glasgow that ticked all the boxes
It had lots of quality, affordable office space, an easy commute to
London and an already established financial services industry.
However, most attractive of all was access to a well-educated
workforce - the product of four universities and an internationally
renowned business school in and around the city.
It all started in September 2000 with a small team working on
settlements for institutional clients. Then, on the back of this
success, another small team joined them working with our private
wealth clients. By 2002 there were over 100 people in Glasgow and
the time came to find suitable premises for this growing
In the August of that year, Morgan Stanley took four floors of the
prestigious Cerium Building in Glasgow's International Financial Services
A centre for excellence
Further growth came with the expansion of the Finance division
to keep pace with the changing accounting regulations. The company
was well placed to attract high-calibre accountants, particularly
as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland has an
international reputation, and this led to Morgan Stanley
establishing Glasgow as a centre of excellence for the Firms' legal
In the mid 2000s, Glasgow had gained an enviable reputation, not
just as a great place to live and work, but also as a place where
continuous improvement was second nature. Every function that
relocated to Scotland re-engineered itself to work more efficiently
- it appeared Glasgow had the magic touch!
Such was the growth during this period that Morgan Stanley secured
a second office in the city at the nearby Sentinel
Building in 2006.
Another boost for Glasgow was the strategy to develop the firm's
own IT technology services rather than rely on contractors. The IT
team grew quickly and it was soon joined by the fund management
accounting operation, as Glasgow was selected as one of the key
locations to develop this part of the firm's business.
The newest 'kid on the block' is the Information Security function
which was developed in 2009 and is expected to expand over the
coming years to protect the company's data and IP.
Living as well as working
Like the city, Glasgow's operation has its own character. As
commuting times are minimal for most people, they can enjoy a good
work-life balance with easy access to stunning countryside on their
The Glasgow management team was also keen to develop this
employee-friendly environment with a range of health promotion and
wellbeing initiatives and informal support networks. Glasgow was
the first Morgan Stanley office to be awarded the UK's prestigious
Investors in People accreditation.
Glasgow is a serious contender
I believe that Glasgow has become a force of its own and is a
serious contender when any major relocation is being considered
within Morgan Stanley. We're not only the biggest importer of
talent but also a major exporter, as many of our people have
started their careers with us and are now working in other parts of
the global business.
Employees have also built highly successful careers locally, and
many have had the opportunity to work in several of the six
divisions. That's one of the great advantages of developing your
career with Morgan Stanley.
Further information on living and working in Scotland is available
Executive Director, Human Resources
5 November 2010