If you're looking for a new job in London for the New Year and aesthetics are high on your list of priorities, you might want to try Morgan Stanley. We hear that the U.S. bank's London offices are really rather special.
"Morgan Stanley's office in Canary Wharf is incredible," says one recent hire with experience of working at various other firms. "The toilets are exceptional - they're cleaned so regularly that it's like a five star hotel. The food is pretty amazing too."
We understand from other contemporary Morgan Stanley employees that it's not just the London washrooms that are worthy of note. It's also the gym and its attendant facilities. The bank's Canary Wharf fitness centre was refurbished at the end of 2018 and is understood to have reopened on January 3, equipped with a new high tech spin studio and heavily upgraded and expanded changing rooms and shower facilities.
By comparison, Morgan Stanley insiders suggest the facilities at other banks in London can be somewhat lacking. "The toilets in Barclays' North Colonnade building rarely seem to work properly," says one. Another says the washrooms at RBS's head office in the City are, "worse than any other government building." Another says the food in the canteen at J.P. Morgan's London Wall building used to be comparable to Morgan Stanley's at Canary Wharf, but that the temperature at J.P. Morgan's canteen was kept too low to ensure hungry staff, "didn't hang around."
Morgan Stanley's New York staff may feel slightly envious of their British-based rivals. "No one would praise the toilets on the third floor of 1585 Broadway," says a trader at Morgan Stanley in New York. "The trading floor here hasn't been refurbished since the mid-90s when the bank moved in." Staff based at Morgan Stanley's Paris office in Rue Monceau say the toilets are nothing to write home about but that the historic building boasts nice gardens which are used by the bank for barbecues in the summer.
Insiders at Morgan Stanley say the bank is due to announce its managing director (MD) promotions on January 15. Those lucky enough to make the cut in London will gain access to the bank's 11th floor dining area, where MDs can eat and entertain clients. All London staff can frequent a "nice roof garden," although there are complaints that this is overlooked by J.P. Morgan's building, which "towers over it."
Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the allure of its facilities. The upgrading of the bank's Canary Wharf washrooms and gym is understood to be unrelated to the redesign of the bank's office space under Rob Rooney, the bank's new(ish) head of technology and former head of EMEA. Rooney has been revamping Morgan Stanley with open plan offices, wooden floors, exposed pipe work and mustard-coloured chairs in an effort to imbue the bank with the vibe of a tech-firm and to appeal to young technologists. One quant at Canary Wharf complains that it hasn't made much difference: "It's still an investment bank in Canary Wharf with mostly grey carpets. There are just a few bright chairs scattered around."
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