Great News For Morgan Stanley Shareholders

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James Gorman's poker performance indicates he's unlikely to run the firm into the ground.

Gorman, a man who has pared risk and made Morgan Stanley a more balanced institution, seems unlikely to make the sort of big bet that either propels the firm into a new golden age -- or torpedoes it. He's a more cautious and consistent player than that. Here's how his friend Ken Buckfire, CEO of investment bank Miller Buckfire, describes Gorman's performance in a summer poker game that's been going on the better part of two decades: "He's usually up a few bucks but never the big winner." For Morgan Stanley in 2011, that may be just the kind of approach that's called for.

It's unclear if the Dollar Dominatrix knew about this when she took a shiv to MS's earnings last week.

Can James Gorman Make Morgan Stanley Great Again? [Fortune]

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Layoffs Watch '12? Morgan Stanley?

James Gorman is approaching cost-cutting with the same focus as the Zodiac killer, so maybe. Morgan Stanley is "maniacally focused" on cutting costs apart from compensation and is on track to reduce expenses by $500 million this year, Chief Executive James Gorman said on Tuesday. Gorman, speaking at a conference in New York, also reiterated Morgan Stanley's plans to reduce costs by $1.4 billion annually over the long term...The bank is also monitoring the size of its overall payroll for possible job cuts as revenue remains under pressure from a weak market environment, he said. "We are very, very focused on that, obviously, in this environment," said Gorman. Morgan Stanley "maniacally" focused on cost cuts-CEO [Reuters] Very much related: Morgan Stanley Joins Goldman Sachs In Herbicide

Bonus Watch '13: Morgan Stanley CEOs

The bad news: James Gorman's pay fell 30 percent this year. The good news: he's now in a position to show employees how to take these setbacks like a man, rather than grumbling like someone who puts their compensation in a one-year context to define their overall level of happiness.

Layoffs Watch '12: Morgan Stanley

The House of Gorman will be saying good-bye to a few thousand Little Jims before year-end. Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman said the firm's work force at year-end will fall 7% from 2011, reflecting previously announced layoffs as well as the firm's efforts in applying "a high bar for replacing attrition." The forecast implies a reduction of more than 4,000 jobs from the firm's global headcount of 61,899 at Dec. 31. Last winter, Morgan Stanley announced 1,600 job cuts spread across its businesses, which was its largest such cutback since late 2008 and early 2009. The firm completed roughly 4% to 5% of those cuts in January and will complete an additional 2% to 3% by the end of 2012, a spokeswoman said. Morgan Stanley Expects 7& Cut In Its Workforce [WSJ]

Layoffs/Bonus Watch '12/13: Morgan Stanley

Back in January, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman sent a simple messages to his employees, who had been grumbling about their pay: STFU or GTFO. "You're naive, read the newspaper, No.1," Gorman told Bloomberg he would say to any members of his staff that wanted to give him lip about their compensation to his face. "No. 2, if you put your compensation in a one-year context to define your over all level of happiness, you have a problem which is much bigger than this job. And No. 3, if you're really unhappy, just leave." Today, in an interview with the FT, Gorman reiterated his stance and added that in addition to reducing compensation for current employees, the bank will likely be drastically cutting pay for future analysts. If anyone has a problem with that, consider applying for a gig at Bank of Mythical Pre-Crisis Era Bonuses. Alternatively, Gorman is happy to discuss a compensation plan in which you'll be awarded shares of his foot in your ass, which vest immediately. In the latest sign of the pressure Wall Street is under to cut costs and address high pay levels, James Gorman, chief executive, said that staff and remuneration would have to be sacrificed as banks cope with lower profits. “There’s way too much capacity and compensation is way too high,” Mr Gorman said in an interview with the Financial Times. “As a shareholder I’m sort of sympathetic to the shareholder view that the industry is still overpaid.” Morgan Stanley itself is already axing 4,000 jobs, 7 per cent of its workforce, by the end of this year. In the new year, Mr Gorman said, the bank will consider its next round of cost-cutting, including lower pay and bonuses. News of further pay cuts, including potentially for new entrants at the investment bank, comes just weeks after Goldman Sachs confirmed it was overhauling its well-known entry-level programme for analysts. Goldman was said to have tired of the number of analysts in the programme who left the bank for hedge funds. Mr Gorman said that Morgan Stanley will probably keep its own analyst programme, but pay could be reduced significantly. Morgan Stanley Chief Warns On Wall Street Pay [FT] Earlier: James Gorman To Employees: STFU Or GTFO