The History of Morgan Stanley

For 87 years, Morgan Stanley has worked to meet the financial needs of its clients, from individuals and families to institutions and corporations. With a history of innovation and a passion for cutting-edge ideas, Morgan Stanley has established itself as a global leader in the financial services industry, always evolving to serve our clients and our communities.

Founded in 1935 as a partnership with a staff of just 13, Morgan Stanley is now a global financial services firm operating in more than 40 countries with over 80,000 employees. Through our integrated businesses—Institutional Securities, Wealth Management and Investment Management—we offer our clients keen insights, forward-thinking strategies, innovative products and experience-based advice to help them meet their goals. 

Our History at a Glance

  1. 1935 -
    The First 25 Years

    • Morgan Stanley opened for business on September 16, 1935, as a partnership with a staff of 13. In its first year, the firm handled $1.1 billion in public offerings and private placements—representing a 24% market share.
    • Over the next decade the firm played a key role in many significant transactions, including the distribution in 1938 of $100 million of debentures for the United States Steel Corporation as lead underwriter. In 1939, we were the lead syndicate for U.S. rail financing. 
    •  In 1941, Morgan Stanley liquidated its stock and reorganized to qualify for membership on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which it joined in 1942.
    • The early 1940s saw the start of the firm's commitment to giving back, when founder Harold Stanley raised $1.5 million for the U.S. Committee for the Care of European Children
    •  In 1947, the firm issued the first bond on behalf of the World Bank to fund post-war reconstruction in Europe.
    • During the 1950s, the firm managed General Motors' $300 million debt issuance--at the time, the largest securities issue ever underwritten. Other major deals during this period included a $231 million IBM stock offering and a $250 million debt offering for AT&T.
    • Leadership: Harold Stanley, President, 1935–1951; Henry Morgan, Secretary and Treasurer, 1935-1970; Perry Hall, President, 1951–1961

  2. 1960 -
    Global and Business Expansion

    • In the 1960s, Morgan Stanley developed the first computer model to deal with the increasing complexity of financial analysis.
    • Morgan Stanley opened its first international office in 1967, launching Morgan & Cie. International in Paris with Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., to pursue the growing European securities market.
    • In 1970, Morgan Stanley was among the first global investment banks to establish a presence in Japan.
    • Between 1972 and 1977, the firm launched its Sales and TradingResearchInvestment Management, Real Estate and Private Wealth Management businesses.
    • Morgan Stanley moved its international office from Paris to London in 1977.
    • Leadership: Samuel Payne, President, 1970–1971; Chester Lasell, President, 1971–1972; Frank Petito, Chairman, 1973–1979; Robert H. Baldwin, President, 1973–1979, Chairman, 1979–1983

  3. 1980 -
    Creating the Modern Morgan Stanley

    • In 1984, Morgan Stanley developed the first Trade Analysis Processing System (TAPS), which boosted the volume of accuracy of trades, and formed its Prime Brokerage group to service hedge fund clients.
    • In 1985, Morgan Stanley launched its Fixed Income Division.
    • In 1986, the firm established Morgan Stanley and Co. International Plc, a financial services company operating in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia.
    • Over the course of the next few decades, the firm opened offices in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Milan, São Paulo, Sydney and Zurich, as well as expanding in London and Tokyo. (View our Global Offices.)
    • Morgan Stanley created its analytical proprietary trading group in 1986, bringing together traders, technical analysts and computer engineers to create and deploy new trading technologies.
    • Morgan Stanley became a public company in 1986.
    •  The firm launched the MSCI World Index in 1988, the first comprehensive index of equity markets in developing countries.
    • The Richard B. Fisher Scholarship was founded in 1993 to attract candidates from historically underrepresented groups to the financial industry.
    • In 1995, Morgan Stanley moved its global headquarters to its current location at 1585 Broadway in New York.
    • Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter merged in 1997, creating America's largest asset management company and securities firm in terms of equity capital. The resulting name, Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Company, was shortened to Morgan Stanley in March 2001.
    • In 2000, the first Global Information Center (GIC) opened in Glasgow, now one of nine Global Centers. Their initial remit, providing trade settlements, has grown to include research, data analysis, risk management and technological innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
    • On September 11, 2001, Morgan Stanley had offices in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Rick Rescorla, our vice president of security, led a massive evacuation of our 2,700 employees. Rick perished in the building along with 12 of our colleagues. For his bravery, Rick was posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2019.
    • The New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital opened in 2003, creating a world-class facility for pediatric care.
    • Leadership: S. Parker Gilbert, President, 1983–1984, Chairman 1984–1990; Richard B. Fisher, President, 1984–1991, Chairman, 1991–1997; Philip J. Purcell, Chairman and CEO, 1997–2005; John J. Mack, President, 1994–2001

  4. 2007 -
    Reemerging from the Financial Crisis

    • After the 2008 stock market crash, Morgan Stanley and seven other large U.S. banks received capital investments through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). By June 2009, Morgan Stanley had fully paid back the $10 billion in TARP money to the U.S. Treasury.
    • In 2008, Morgan Stanley became a financial holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act. That same year, it formed a strategic alliance with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG).
    • In 2009, Morgan Stanley established a new broker-dealer that combined Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management Group with Citi's Smith Barney in the U.S., Quilter in the UK and Smith Barney Australia retail units into a new wealth management firm. It operated as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and became the largest wealth management business in the world.
    • Leadership: John J. Mack, Chairman and CEO, 2005–2009; James P. Gorman, Co–President, 2007–2010

  5. 2010 -
    Innovation and Strategic Acquisitions

    • In 2012, Morgan Stanley launched the first-of-its-kind Investing with Impact Platform, which enabled clients to align their portfolios with environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
    • The firm established the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing in 2013 to create scalable, sustainable investing solutions. 
    • In 2013, Morgan Stanley bought Citigroup’s final 35 percent stake of the wealth management joint venture, since renamed Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
    • Our Multicultural Client Strategy Group, founded in 2017 (and renamed the Inclusive Ventures Group in 2023), promotes financial inclusion and provides women and diverse entrepreneurs with access to capital and other business-critical resources.
    • In 2019, Morgan Stanley agreed to acquire Solium Capital Inc., a leading global provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) for equity administration, financial reporting and compliance. The acquisition paved the way for the firm to launch Morgan Stanley at Work.
    • The 2020 all-stock transaction of E*TRADEvalued at approximately $13 billion, allowed Morgan Stanley to complement its full-service, advisor-driven Wealth Management business with E*TRADE’s direct-to-consumer and digital capabilities.
    • The firm launched its Institute for Inclusion in 2020 to create an integrated, transparent internal and external strategy on diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, we added "Commit to diversity and inclusion" to Morgan Stanley’s Core Values.
    • The 2021 addition of Eaton Vance, including Calvert and Parametric, increased the scale and strategic reach of our  Investment Management business.
    • Leadership: John J. Mack, Chairman, 2010­–2012; James P. Gorman, CEO, 2010–2023, Chairman, 2012–2023, Executive Chairman, 2024–present; Edward (Ted) Pick, CEO, 2024–present


Morgan Stanley: A Story of Growth and Impact

Explore the history of Morgan Stanley in this 10-minute video--with archival footage, a look at the firm's key milestones and interviews with leaders past and present.

Source: Morgan Stanley