America's Top 20 Bank Holding Companies

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is rated seventh on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's (FFIEC) list of the top 50 banks based on total assets. Ranked just behind the Metlife, INC, and in front of U.S. Bancorp, Morgan Stanley had $781,030,000 in assets as of March 2012.

Morgan Stanley was founded in 1935 by several employees of J.P. Morgan & Co. after the government declared that banks could not operate both investment and commercial divisions. J.P. Morgan & Co. stayed in the commercial banking industry while Henry S. Morgan, Harold Stanley and some of their fellow colleagues founded Morgan Stanley, which handled investment banking. Within a year it had 24% of the market share in public offerings and was soon underwriting for the United States Steel Corporation and U.S. Railroad. In 1941 the company restructured its business in order to be more active in the securities market.

During the 1950s Morgan Stanley co-managed the triple-A bonds offered by the World Bank and also handled accounts for General Motors, IBM and AT&T. In 1962 the company led the way in financial analysis with a computer model to help make financial analysis easier. They entered the European market by opening Morgan & Cie International in Paris in 1967. Later that same year they got into the real estate market when they acquired Brooks, Harvey & Co., Inc.

Morgan Stanley continued to grow in the 1970s. The Tokyo office was opened in 1970 and they entered the Japanese market. They established a mergers and acquisitions business as well as a sales and trading business in 1971. 1975 saw the opening of their London office under the name Morgan Stanley International Inc. Morgan Stanley Realty Inc. was founded in 1977 and a merger with Shuman, Agnew & Co. occurred.

In the 1980s Morgan Stanley opened offices in Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Milan, Sydney and Zürich, expanding their presence in the world. They acquired Van Kampen American Capital in 1996 and in 1997 merged with Dean Witter Reynolds and Discover & Co. Until 1998 they were called Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Discover & Co. but by 2001 the company was back to its original name of Morgan Stanley. In 2004 they acquired the Canary Wharf Group. The later part of the decade saw them accept financial help from the Federal Reserve and the China Investment Corporation and lose as much as $300 million in a day due to the mortgage crisis. In 2008 Morgan Stanley, one of the two major remaining investment banks, became a traditional bank regulated by the Federal Reserve. They purchased Smith Barney from Citigroup in 2009 and now operate the world's largest wealth management firm.

Morgan Stanley's world headquarters are located in Midtown Manhattan, New York in the Morgan Stanley Building. Their European headquarters are in London and Asia Pacific Headquarters are in Hong Kong. Additionally, they operate out of 1300 offices in 42 countries with 60,000 employees.

Morgan Stanley's headquarters are in great locations, namely three of the largest financial centers of the world: New York, London and Hong Kong. Each of these cities boasts a great financial district, housing the headquarters of most major banks and having active and major stock markets. These cities also possess great talent among the citizens and make it easy for them to hire the best.