Like other industry leaders, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman says the bank’s operations probably won’t be “back to normal” this year.
“It has been an extraordinary few months,” Gorman said at the firm’s virtual shareholder meeting Thursday, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. (Gorman himself recovered from the coronavirus last month.)
In the short term, “the direction of asset prices, zero interest rates and activity levels will impact our results,” he explained. ”This [market] environment is anything but normal.”
Some 90% of Morgan Stanley roughly 80,000 global employees are working from home.
When asked by a shareholder about the bank’s outlook for staff returning to the workplace, Gorman said, “I would not expect at all for 100% of our employees to be back in the office this year. In fact, I expect a much lower percentage of that, probably closer to 50% by the end of this year.”
As of today, this figure varies across the firm’s global locations.
Roughly 45% of workers in Hong Kong are back in the office, Gorman said, while the number in New York City is “very, very, very small.”
“We’re working on a series of programs to provide a safe environment for our employees to come back,” Gorman said.
“Under no circumstance will the employees be forced to come back in 2020 to their desk when they have any concern or fear over their health and safety,” he explained, “which remains our most important priority.”