World's best bank for markets 2018: Morgan Stanley
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World's best bank for markets 2018: Morgan Stanley

The US firm is now the top non-universal bank in global sales and trading – a remarkable turnaround in a business that was struggling just five years ago

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Last year Morgan Stanley broke into the top three global rankings for overall sales and trading for the first time in at least a decade. Delivering almost $13 billion in revenues, it ranked behind only two universal banks with much bigger balance sheets – JPMorgan and Citi. Its market share among the top nine global banks now stands at 13.5%.

But the growth has not been down to a sharp rise in risk-weighted assets or a looser attitude to risk. Indeed, Morgan Stanley’s management is obsessed by consistency of risk and return in its markets business.

“For us, risk is not a balloon that we fill up and empty at different times,” says the firm’s president, Colm Kelleher. Financial discipline, he adds, comes from consistency of approach, which in turns comes from consistency of management – the firm is rightly proud of the 20 years-plus average experience of its senior management.

Beneath this, in both equities and, more recently, fixed income, the firm has empowered what global head of sales and trading Ted Pick refers to as “the green shades guys” – senior executives in the business units who hold real power over strategy and trading positions and keep tight standards of control.

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