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The world’s best investment bank 2023: Morgan Stanley takes centre stage in a dramatic year for investment banking

Chief executive James Gorman has grown and transformed Morgan Stanley in his 13 years at the top of the firm. Photo: Reuters

Veteran Morgan Stanley investment bankers describe this as the busiest downturn they have ever seen. That is because they have worked on the biggest and most transformative deals in 12 months of shifting values and at times paralyzing uncertainty. The firm has made some cuts, but its new leaders are shaking the business up and bringing in the talent that will be in demand once markets settle.

Two extraordinary M&A deals, Elon Musk’s hostile acquisition of Twitter, announced in April 2022, and UBS’s rescue takeover of Credit Suisse in March 2023, bookended the toughest 12 months for investment banking since the global financial crisis 15 years ago.

These are the transactions that bankers and corporate executives will still be talking about many years from now. Books will be written about them, plays maybe. Morgan Stanley took a lead role on both and is the world’s best investment bank in 2023.

It advised Musk, a private individual first taking an activist position then pivoting to an unsolicited bid, in the fourth-largest take-private deal ever. The $41 billion takeover is a defining transaction for social media.


  • Goldman Sachs
  • JPMorgan
  • “Twitter was epic M&A,” says an investment banker at another firm.


    Peter Lee head.jpg
    Editorial director
    Peter Lee is editorial director. He joined Euromoney straight from Oxford University in 1985, and has written about banking and capital markets ever since, being appointed editor in 1999. He became editorial director of Euromoney in May 2005.