Morgan Stanley is one of the world’s largest financial service firms, providing investment banking, wealth management, and investment advice to clients around the globe.
Founded in 1935 by Henry S. Morgan and Harold Stanley, the company was originally known as Morgan Stanley & Co., and it quickly rose to become a powerhouse on Wall Street.
But how did it get to this point? Let’s take a closer look at the history of Morgan Stanley.
Origins: 1935 – 1946
Morgan Stanley & Co. was formed in 1935 when Henry S. Morgan and Harold Stanley joined forces to create a new investment banking firm.
Their first client was the leading international bank: The Bank of England. This initial deal marked the beginning of a long and successful partnership between the two firms.
In 1937, the company opened its offices in New York City, and by 1940 the firm had offices in numerous other cities around the globe.
World War II: 1946 – 1960
During World War II, Morgan Stanley & Co. played a crucial role in selling war bonds to help finance the Allied forces’ efforts.
They also developed innovative financial strategies to fund defense spending and reconstruction efforts.
After the war, the firm continued to expand its reach and influence in the world of finance. It became a public company in 1946 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1973.
Growth: 1960 – Present
In the 1960s, Morgan Stanley & Co. began to focus on global financial markets, particularly corporate mergers, and acquisitions. Over time, it became one of the top investment banks in the world with a strong presence in Europe, Asia, and North America.
In 2009, the bank acquired Smith Barney from Citigroup for $13 billion, further increasing its market share in wealth management services.
Today, the company is still going strong with offices across five continents and over 60 countries around the world. It has become a leader in global investment banking and continues to grow as a financial services powerhouse.
Milestones & Achievements
From its humble beginnings as a small firm to its current status as a global financial giant, Morgan Stanley’s major milestones and achievements have been nothing short of remarkable. In 1986 the company had its first IPO. This led to the opening of offices in major cities around the world.
In 1995 the firm entered the Chinese market through investments in China International Capital Corp.
Morgan Stanley Group, Inc., became the world’s largest securities firm in 1997 when they merged with Dean Witter Discover & Co.
IPO for China Construction Bank
In 2005, Morgan Stanley was selected to lead the initial public offering (IPO) for China Construction Bank, the first IPO for a Chinese state-controlled bank.
This was an especially impressive achievement given that this IPO was not only the world’s largest at that time but also one of the most important IPOs ever offered in Asia.
By successfully executing this IPO, Morgan Stanley helped raise nearly $9 billion for China Construction Bank and established itself as a leader in Asian financial markets.
Acquisition of Smith Barney
In 2009, Morgan Stanley acquired Smith Barney—a division of Citigroup—for approximately $2.7 billion.
This acquisition made the firm one of the largest retail brokerage firms in North America with 17 million customers and over $2 trillion in client assets under management.
This acquisition allowed Morgan Stanley to expand its presence in retail banking, wealth management, and other consumer services.
Venture Capital Investment in Uber (2013)
In 2013, the company invested $258 million in Uber Technologies Inc., which at that time had already become one of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups.
This venture capital investment gave Morgan Stanley a stake in Uber’s business which became worth billions of dollars when it went public six years later.
Through this smart investment, the company was able to capitalize on Uber’s meteoric rise and reap huge rewards down the line.
Recent History (2001-Today)
Morgan Stanley continued to grow throughout the 2000s despite some major setbacks due to poor investments during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
In 2009, it divested its Discover Card business to JPMorgan Chase for $2.7 billion, channeling its focus primarily towards its core enterprises of investment banking and wealth management.
The acquisition of Smith Barney from Citigroup Inc. represented a strategic maneuver that elevated the company’s position, propelling it to the status of one of the globe’s premier wealth management giants, boasting assets under management exceeding $1.18 trillion.
The company has come a long way since its founding in the 1930s by Henry S. Morgan and Harold Stanley.
- Today, it’s a global financial giant, operating in 42+ countries, recognized among the largest financial service firms worldwide.
- Success rooted in decades of hard work and client-focused dedication, persisting today as it aims for greater excellence.
- Reflecting on its history, Morgan Stanley’s enduring impact on Wall Street remains undeniable for the foreseeable future.