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Ready to expand your London financial firm into the UK's second largest financial hub? Morgan Stanley did just that with its Glasgow operation.

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Take one company, the UK's second largest financial hub, add some ambition and what do you get?

The answer is a global heavyweight that has expanded and succeeded in Scotland, building on the strength of its UK presence in London. The company was drawn by Scotland's lower operating costs and existing large and high-skilled talent pool in the sector.

Morgan Stanley is a leading financial services company, offering investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services worldwide. It operates three very successful businesses which are ranked either number one or number two in the world.

The company’s Glasgow office is its fifth largest in the world. Morgan Stanley employs over 55,000 people globally, with about 1300 staff in Glasgow.

John McGrory, the company’s Managing Director and Co-General Manager of the Glasgow office, said: “Scotland, in general, has an established financial service industry, especially in Edinburgh and in Glasgow - and also in other cities such as Dundee.”

Discover why Morgan Stanley expanded into Scotland alongside London
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Scotland’s financial services talent was key

“We looked at Scotland as a key supply for talent first and foremost, and chose Glasgow as a great fit for Morgan Stanley. Much of that was to do with the infrastructure, the number of universities we have here, and the relative cost to the organisation in aspects like real estate."

John McGrory’s Glasgow team includes many different divisions including operations, a technology group, a finance group, fund services and internal audit. It also comprises human resources and other ancillary services. The Glasgow team not only supports its UK and European business but also its global businesses across Asia and the Americas.

He added: “We work very closely with all the major universities within Scotland, and we have a very structured approach in engaging with them. It’s absolutely key that we do so. This draws talent into the firm, and supports those universities in many of their courses."

Supporting a global business from Glasgow

Half of the Glasgow workforce support global operations across multiple time zones. Being located in a UK time zone enables the company to support Asia and the Americas. And located just 15 minutes from Glasgow Airport, the Glasgow office is well located for leaders to access their global sites, and provides access to countries in these continents.

John McGrory believes Scotland is a great place to live, particularly its quality of life for everyone, from graduates just out of university and starting their careers, to families living and working around Scotland’s major cities. More importantly, he believes cities like Glasgow are very vibrant, offering a great deal of facilities.

Success through innovation

Innovation for the firm is key, whether it’s enhancing products or services, or building more efficient technology, application or systems. But it stretches more than that: it’s about innovating the workplace and how it works better for the staff.

How we helped Morgan Stanley grow in Scotland 

Over the past 16 years, Scottish Development International (SDI) has helped Morgan Stanley establish a presence in Scotland by providing advice on setting up and other consultancy services. We also worked closely with the company as it has expanded and brought new roles to Scotland, and we're closely connected to its New York headquarters. At Scottish Government level and through SDI, Morgan Stanley worked with Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, who visited its New York site.

Interested in expanding your London financial business into Scotland?

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