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John Mack interview: Morgan Stanley’s reversal of fortunes

John Mack has the job he always wanted. One of Wall Street’s leading firms has the leader it desperately needed. Morgan Stanley is now the investment bank with momentum. Mack and his senior management tell Clive Horwood how they revived the firm’s fortunes.

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MORGAN STANLEY IS back. In fact, so quick has the turnaround in its fortunes been that you probably didn’t even notice that it had gone away.

When the US investment bank reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2007 in June, it surpassed all expectations. Perhaps the market should not have been so surprised. Morgan Stanley’s full-year 2006 results had been a huge advance on the dark days of 2005. Its Q1 2007 results were a record.

But last month, Morgan Stanley stood out from the rest of Wall Street with the quality of its Q2 earnings – which jumped 40% on the previous year. Once again the firm was the darling of analysts: "We view Morgan Stanley as the clear top performer in its group," said a report from Fox-Pitt Kelton.

More important, Morgan Stanley is once more in favour with its stockholders. Its share price jumped from $60 in June 2006 to $90 a year later; analysts at CIBC World Markets have a target price for the shares of $112.

Crucially, Morgan Stanley is back as an adviser of choice to its global client base.

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Clive Horwood
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