Morgan Stanley Launches ‘Project Streamline’, Aimed at Shedding $1b

Morgan Stanley has taken aim at several North American jobs in an effort to bring the lender to maximum profitability.

The overhaul at Morgan Stanley has continued into the summer months, following the latest round of job cuts in a bid to help stem costs for the lender. After seeing its fixed income and currency trading desks shrink in New York late last year, the group has now targeted up to $1.0 billion in cuts through a multi-tiered approach.

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More specifically, Morgan Stanley is aiming to save $1.0 billion via strategic cuts in outsourcing, technology streamlining, as well as general expense reduction measures – as opposed to other initiatives, the operation has even received the moniker ‘Project Streamline’, as explained by Morgan Stanley’s Chairman and CEO James Gorman at an investor presentation this week.

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Morgan Stanley has already been one of many other lenders that have announced sizable cuts to their operations. As opposed to Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and Barclays, that have all seen the majority of the cuts focus on the European space and London in particular, Morgan Stanley’s cuts have been relegated mostly to the US front.

That being said, the lender is aiming to boost its overall return on investment (ROE) from 7% to upwards of 9-11%, which should help shed a lot of costs that have been plaguing its earnings. Furthermore, this could also net Morgan Stanley upwards of $100 million in annual savings with the primary target being back office jobs. Nearly 1250 jobs will be shifted to locales such as Bengalaru, Glasgow, and Baltimore, away from areas with higher costs of labor.

Another area that’s on the chopping block is contractor pay, which is going to be the subject of heavy cuts – Morgan Stanley is aiming to save $150 million as a result. Finally, in the technology space, Mr. Gorman announced a lean sector, culminating in only half of the number of servers deployed, ultimately going from 60,000 to 48,000 by the end of the year alone, and to 33,000 by 2017 – data center numbers will also be trimmed, reducing the count from nine to five across North America.

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