The CEO of one of Wall Street’s top investment banks has a message for employees in its New York offices. You need to come back to work this fall.
Morgan Stanley (MS) chief James Gorman said at an investing conference earlier this week that it’s time for the bank’s New York workers to head back to the office now that more people are getting vaccinated for Covid-19 and life is slowly returning to normal.
“If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. And we want you in the office,” Gorman said.
Gorman made the comments Monday at an annual conference about financial payments and commercial real estate. He joked that he was doing so from the company’s New York office — and while wearing a suit and tie to boot.
Gorman said that many Morgan Stanley employees have already started to slowly make their way back to the firm’s headquarters at 1585 Broadway in Times Square a couple of days a week.
But Gorman said that once the summer is over, most of the New York workers will need to be getting off Zoom and taking the subway into the office more regularly.
“By Labor Day, I’ll be very disappointed if people haven’t found their way into the office and then we’ll have a different kind of conversation,” he said, adding that workers can’t expect to get their New York salaries if they continue to work remotely.
“If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York,” Gorman said. “None of this ‘I’m in Colorado…and getting paid like I’m sitting in New York City.’ Sorry. That doesn’t work.”
Gorman was quick to note that the company would still be flexible with regards to splitting time between at home and the office. He said the policy would not be “dictatorial,” noting that many working parents still need to be home with kids if they’re not in school or camp.
On Thursday, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan echoed Gorman’s sentiment, saying that he expects vaccinated employees to return to the office after Labor Day. “We’ll be able to operate fairly normally and will then start to make provisions for the other teammates as we move through the fall,” Moynihan said.
Gorman also noted that he hopes that most Morgan Stanley workers coming back to the office would be vaccinated, saying that “well over 90%” of employees already had received Covid-19 shots and that he expected that number to eventually reach 98% to 99%.
But Gorman conceded that some employees may not get vaccinated for health or religious reasons and that the company will deal with that.
Gorman was also quick to note that the company’s policy for returning to the office would be looked at on a case-by-case basis. The company has offices around the globe and also recently bought online brokerage E-Trade and investment management firm Eaton Vance.
Morgan Stanley has 10,000 employees in India, which has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 recently.
“They’re not coming back to work,” Gorman said. “That’s not a 2021 issue.”
“I don’t think making a blanket statement to all employees is helpful,” he added. “I don’t think speaking to employees who work at 1585 Broadway in Times Square is the same as speaking to a small office in Topeka.”