Morgan Stanley began cutting about 2% of its global staff on 6 December, or about 1,600 employees, according to a person with knowledge of the cuts who didn’t want to be identified.

The move follows remarks by chairman and chief executive James Gorman at last week’s Reuters Next conference, when he said people were going to be let go.

“We’re making some modest cuts all over the globe,” he said on 1 December. “In most businesses, that’s what you do after many years of growth.”

The cuts took place companywide, except for among financial advisors, the person told Barron’s by telephone.

The person didn’t know how many US workers were affected. Morgan Stanley had about 81,000 employees at the end of the third quarter.

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Morgan Stanley’s last companywide reduction in force was about 2% in 2019, which was before the pandemic. Gorman said he would not cut jobs during the pandemic, the person familiar said.

Morgan Stanley has since acquired two companies.

“We’ve had phenomenal years, tremendous growth,” Gorman said last week, adding it made sense to adjust. “It’s what CEOs do.”

Business has dropped off this year as merger deals and new stock issuance dried up. The investment bank in mid-October reported a slowdown in its investment banking business that contributed to a shortfall in third-quarter revenue. It also said it earned less than expected from lending amid rising interest rates.

Morgan Stanley’s $12.99bn in third-quarter revenue was down from $14.75bn in last year’s third quarter, and short of the $13.29bn analysts polled by FactSet had anticipated. Amid difficult market conditions, its investment banking revenue fell 55% from a year ago, to $1.28bn.

Write to Janet H Cho at

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