Profile

Mike Wilson

Chief Investment Officer, Chair of the Global Investment Committee

Introduction

Mike Wilson is Chief Investment Officer and Chair of the Global Investment Committee. He is also a member of the Morgan Stanley Retirement Plan Investment Committee and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Management Committee. Mike began his career with the firm in 1989 as an investment banker. Between 1995 and 2012, he held numerous positions within Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Equity Division, including the Head of Content Distribution for North American Equities between 2009 and 2012. Mike holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, both with honors.

How do you explain what you do to people outside the industry?

I am the Chief Investment Officer for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, leading a team that provides investment recommendations to our Financial Advisors. That makes us the advisors to our over 16,000 Financial Advisors. We are the tip of the spear for intellectual capital at the firm that they use to create results for individual clients. As the eyes and ears of our advisors, we provide advice and solutions that address a full range of risk tolerances. We also build and maintain specific fixed income and equity model portfolios to complement the over 1,000 different mutual fund managers and ETF strategies that we evaluate and approve for use on our platform.

How have you progressed and evolved through your time at Morgan Stanley?

Coming to New York from the Midwest to work at Morgan Stanley was a massive change for me culturally. However, I moved a lot as a child and so change was very normal for me growing up. In fact, it seems ironic that I am still here 25 years later. I have stayed so long because the firm has allowed me—even asked me—to do many different things during my career. I’ve been an investment banker, a salesman, a trader, a strategist and a product manager. Now, I am the CIO for one of the largest wealth management firms in the world. In many ways, I’ve had six or seven very different careers while remaining at the same firm.

Were there any special elements of your experience that prepared you for this role?

I don’t think I could have enjoyed such a diverse and interesting experience at other firms. Morgan Stanley provides the responsibility and support necessary to grow as an individual. As a result, I have been able to evolve my skill set. I learned how to be a trader in a short period of time, and I’ve become a pretty good public speaker without any formal training. There truly is no better teacher in the world than hands-on experience. Morgan Stanley is willing to take risks with its talent and provide these new experiences. I think that is a very unique trait of Morgan Stanley that helps the firm, and the individuals within it, thrive.

What do you consider among your greatest accomplishments?

I am very proud of the number of young people I have developed over the years. Taking the time to mentor young professionals can make them more productive, but more importantly, you can change their careers and their lives.

Along those lines, I’ve always taken the time to explain everything to those who work alongside me. They deserve an explanation for why they are working on assignments and/or projects. It gives them a greater appreciation for their hard work if they understand the impact it might have on the clients we are trying to serve. Morgan Stanley benefits directly from great young talent. We even benefit from talent that leaves the firm because many of them become very successful clients. When I cross paths with these former colleagues, it’s always very rewarding personally.

Publications

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