The American banking giant reaffirms its loyalty to Scotland

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Via Scott Wright

It’s one of the many unfortunate side effects of the coronavirus outbreak that Morgan Stanley has not been able to celebrate his Glasgow office’s twentieth anniversary as he once dreamed.

But while the covid pandemic has posed all kinds of logistical problems to the U.S. investment banking giant, its loyalty to the largest city in Scotland remains undiminished.

The office in Glasgow currently employs 1,600 employees, and the organization is looking to steadily increase that amount, according to Managing Director Vida Rudkin.

Ms. Rudkin, who has been in charge of the Glasgow division for 10 years, is especially pleased that the bank is still committed to providing young people with jobs, particularly at a time when job losses due to the pandemic have a disproportionate effect on the younger demographic.

While Morgan Stanley has contributed to the debate about how through her representation of Scottish Financial Enterprise (Ms. Rudkin sits on the board as a non-executive director) the Scottish economy can rebound from the crisis, she believes the greatest contribution the bank can make is on the employment front.

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It is especially rewarding that this summer, even though the vast majority of workers still work from home, the Glasgow branch was able to offer its internship, apprenticeship and graduate programs. Under the three programs, about 100 individuals were hired, including eight school leavers. On the four-year program, the Glasgow office currently has 14 apprentices.

“This is the area where we can definitely play a big role,” said Ms. Rudkin, who started her career at Andersen Consulting before moving to Barclays and UBS investment banking.

“We’ve continued to employ graduates[while]several businesses have paused their recruiting for graduates. We’ve launched a brand new apprenticeship program, which means we’re hiring people without a university degree from training. I think it’s very good to do so in a year like this.

We did our summer internship program and their internships were cancelled by a lot of businesses. That kind of youth investment and the preservation of opportunities for young people… There are some pretty powerful stuff we do.

Ms. Rudkin added, “The talent we were able to get was [due to]a lot of our investment and engagement in Scotland.” One of the reasons we have the prestige we have is that breadth of talent, the partnerships with universities.

Morgan Stanley acted rapidly in the early days of the pandemic, like many large corporations, to ensure that its workers could operate at home. At one point, almost 100 percent of the team operated remotely, compared to a figure of 95 percent for Morgan Stanley globally, while Ms. Rudkin said she continued without interruption the functions she does for the bank worldwide.

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We do the same thing,” she said. “We have about 1,600 employees here and a lot of places are protected. All the other regions in the past have been helped by the stuff we do in Glasgow, so we have been able to continue to do that.

“In the beginning, there was a little bit of flexibility because everyone was working from home in every country, and some countries had it easier than others. India, for example, took a little longer to get going than we might have. By and large, we’ve maintained our level of service and still play the same integral role we did before.”

Asked if the move to work from home would have some effect on the bank’s large office in Glasgow’s international financial services area, Ms. Rudkin responded, “What I would suggest is that there has been a huge shift in people’s perceptions regarding how they work. A lot of people want and demand a little more flexibility than they used to.

Seeing large-scale adjustments is a little early, but like most companies, we will hope to offer more flexibility to workers.

“We still think it’s important to have an office to collaborate and to innovate. People still need to meet for certain things, and that’s how you can develop your culture. But do people need to be there 100 percent of the time? Probably not.”

As for the bank’s Glasgow twentieth anniversary celebrations, Ms. Rudk said,

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