Morgan Stanley

Adam Parker

Chief US Equity Strategist


Dr. Adam Parker is the US Equity Strategist and Director of Quantitative Research at Morgan Stanley. He has been named to Institutional Investor's All-America Team multiple times in both portfolio strategy and quantitative research, most recently in 2012. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Adam was the Chief Equity Strategist and Director of Quantitative Research at Sanford C. Bernstein. During his more than 11 years at Bernstein, he was also Global Director of Research and a semiconductor analyst ranked #1 by Institutional Investor. Adam was previously a financial analyst at American Express and a management consultant focused on the financial sector. He received a BS in statistics from the University of Michigan, an MS in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina, and a PhD in statistics from Boston University.

How do you explain what you do to people outside the industry?

I write research on the US stock market. I forecast which sectors and industries are likely to beat or lag the market, take a view on where the overall market and corporate earnings are going and identify the key themes that may impact US equity investors.

The breadth of business units and customers Morgan Stanley touches has expanded greatly since I came here in 2010. I try to impact thinking in various parts of the firm, which includes collaborating with analysts in the US and with macro researchers across the globe.

Describe a typical day for you.

We are forecasting returns for 1,500 US equities and posting those views to our website for our clients to access on a regular basis. I am typically at my desk before 6 a.m. to begin processing the news flow and research and communicate with clients and colleagues around the globe. Throughout the day, I call and meet with dozens of our institutional investor clients—often travelling to do so—and meet with our sales force or senior management. I also participate in speaking engagements at conferences; I’ll do more than 30 of those this year.

My job is research and marketing, but it is always research first. We try to develop a product that investors find interesting and insightful; otherwise they are not going to read it. I relish this opportunity every day—to be part of this awesome macro team, produce this content and interact with so many different professionals and investors. Our goal is to help make our clients smarter.

What motivated you to join Morgan Stanley?

I chose to come to Morgan Stanley and be a part of a huge and amazing macro research team that was just too good to ignore. This position afforded me the chance to participate in the asset allocation network, to interact with exceptional colleagues in macro research and, because of the size and breadth of the firm, to get to know a larger group of important investors on both the institutional and wealth management sides of the business.

How do Morgan Stanley’s culture and resources contribute to your research?

We have a culture here where unique styles are appreciated, even encouraged, though performance is the bottom line. Excellence is expected. So is communication. This is a great environment for the self-starter, someone who relishes a lot of autonomy, and seeks to do things the way they think is best. If you have initiative, you can take it and run. The firm will support that and reward that quality.

The resources at this firm are a true gift. Our people, our technology, our products all put us well ahead of the competition in terms of understanding our clients and their needs and being equipped to respond to those needs.

How do you identify emerging trends?

What separates Morgan Stanley Research from others is that we don't simply react; we try to anticipate what will happen, so that when it does, our clients are prepared. We don't wait for an event and then announce which stock will be affected. We write often about how certain things will impact sectors, microstructure, factory efficacy, and so on.

Describe the importance of creative thinking in your process.

Being proactive demands creativity. I view our group as a think tank. We have to always consider the large canvas here so that when someone reads our product over three months, they see all the elements come together in a full picture. To achieve that, we have to go beyond primary colors every day and paint with shades and blends—use the entire palette. We include unusual or offbeat items, and every week we will challenge ourselves to include charts that tell us and our clients something we did not know before.

Do you actively participate in mentoring and how has that shaped your experience?

Because of the nature of my role, I spend a lot of time interacting widely throughout the firm, so I get a lot of requests, informally, to provide feedback and guidance. I am very honest with my mentees and—most of the time—that is greatly appreciated. People are pleased to get the feedback.

Truthfully, I enjoy it. I care about people. Life is largely about relationships and little else. For me, the farther along in my career I get, the more satisfaction I get from helping other people with their career advancement. There is only so much joy you take from completing your 6,000th research note; but every person you help, even a little, provides great satisfaction. I want to get people to see things, think of things, do things, and, ultimately, maybe be someone that they wouldn’t have been without me. That’s the best.

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