Morgan Stanley boss speaks harshly when he returns to the office

Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman sent a harsh message to New York-based employees who don’t want to return to the office, saying that if they’re comfortable dining in town, they should feel safe at the bank’s headquarters.

“If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can walk into the office and we want you to be in the office,” Gorman said Monday at a financial services conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.

Gorman said the bank has yet to start “dictating” that staff report for work, unlike Goldman Sachs, which demanded Monday that its employees return to the office. However, Gorman said he had sent a “directionally very strong” message that he wanted the workers based in his 1585 building on Broadway to be back at their desks.

“[By] Labor Day, I’ll be very disappointed if people haven’t found their way into the office and then we’ll have a different kind of conversation, ”Gorman added, referring to the September 6 US holiday.

Gorman said the bank had learned it could operate “with a little more flexibility” during the coronavirus pandemic. But he signaled that he would take a dim view of employees who did not regularly work in the office and especially those who wanted to do their work remotely from an out-of-state location like Florida or Colorado.

“If you want to get paid at New York rates, you work in New York,” he added.

In March of last year, Gorman was diagnosed with the virus and had a full recovery. Since July 2020, he reports to work and gradually increases the number of days he spends at the office.

“My leadership style has been kind of very deliberate,” he said. “One day a week from July. . . Now I am at four days.

However, employees located in areas with high infection rates, such as India, were not required to report to the office, Gorman said.

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He said returning to the office was especially important for junior staff who undergo on-the-job training. “[The office is] where we teach, where our trainees learn. This is how we develop people. Where you build all the sweet signals that come with a successful career that isn’t just limited to Zoom presentations. “

More than 90 percent of Morgan Stanley employees who already worked in its offices were now vaccinated, Gorman said, adding that he expected that proportion to rise to 98 percent. The bank recently partnered with a health care provider to offer vaccines in its offices.

Morgan Stanley said disclosure of vaccine status would be voluntary, unlike Goldman Sachs, which mandated that its employees disclose if they’ve had a jab.

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