The Equity Collective: Empowering Future Leaders

Nov 2, 2023

Morgan Stanley’s initiative collaborates with asset management firms to empower, educate and recruit diverse talent.

Key Takeaways

  • The Equity Collective is a Morgan Stanley-led initiative that works to empower the next generation of diverse leaders.
  • In its first year, the Equity Collective provided career-related guidance, tools and resources to more than 5,900 students.
  • Organizers are now looking to expand the initiative by involving more financial services firms, colleges and universities.  

Growing up in Ghana, West Africa, Bright Tsagli felt compelled to change his environment and pursue higher education in the U.S., where he felt college and career opportunities would be more plentiful. Upon relocating, Tsagli began his collegiate journey at Bronx Community College before landing at Brown University, where today he double-concentrates in business economics and public policy.


Now in his second year as a summer analyst at Morgan Stanley, Tsagli speaks on panels to students from a broad range of cultural and geographic backgrounds about his journey into financial services with the aim to help demystify the industry. It’s all part of his work with the Equity Collective, a Morgan Stanley-led initiative that seeks to educate students and recruit diverse talent.


“It’s a special feeling knowing that I’m helping to be part of the history of changing the narrative in regard to how other individuals access and create their own path in the industry,” says Tsagli. 

The Equity Collective has provided guidance, tools and resources to more than 5,900 students.

Empowering Future Industry Leaders

Recognizing a need to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce, Morgan Stanley launched The Equity Collective in February 2022 alongside a group of 27 wealth- and asset-management businesses to help educate, empower and develop the next generation of diverse leaders. A year after launching, the Equity Collective has provided guidance, tools and resources to more than 5,900 students as they embark on their career journeys.


“The Equity Collective is committed to investing early in under-represented communities, focusing our efforts on increasing the pool of interested and qualified people that consider a career in financial services,” says Andy Saperstein, Co-President of Morgan Stanley and Head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. “By banding together, we can be a force multiplier to impact our industry in a meaningful way.”


To help reach and recruit students, the Equity Collective partners with several national organizations, including:


  • 17 colleges and universities;
  • 30 local chapters of the Boys & Girls Club of America;
  • hellohive, a virtual recruiting platform that helps connect diverse candidates with financial-industry firms; and 
  • Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that matches children facing serious illnesses and disabilities with collegiate athletic teams, and whose partnership has helped introduce student athletes to the Equity Collective.


Participating employees in the Equity Collective engage students by speaking about working in the financial services industry at  career fairs, colleges and universities, as well as through in-person and virtual programming. These events also help students build their professional network.


“We have to help demystify the industry and better prepare students for opportunities in it, and that includes empowering the individuals within the industry to tell their stories,” says Carlos Muñoz, an Executive Director of Investment Solutions and Head of Asset Manager Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Engagement at Morgan Stanley.


Some students may not think their background, experience or skills translate to a career in financial services, Muñoz adds, but this is a misconception. You don’t necessarily have to major in business, finance or economics to excel in the industry. “For students, independent of their majors, there are opportunities for them to leverage their studies and backgrounds.” 

The initiative is a catalyst to be creative and take the lead in promoting change within the financial industry.

Byron Slosar, CEO of hellohive, says the partnership between his organization and participating firms has provided hellohive “the platform and voice” to empower students earlier in their college careers. “Students feel included in the conversation, they actively choose to pursue opportunities in the industry, and most importantly, they feel seen and heard.”


The core of hellohive’s involvement with the Equity Collective is the Summer Series, a virtual experience lasting 2-3 weeks that helps connect students and recent graduates with asset-management firms. In the first summer, 500 students participated and more than 100 students were placed in programs with partnering firms. This year, more than 1,300 have joined the summer program.


“We have seen an overwhelming level of engagement from those participating in the virtual programming and applying to roles at the firms,” Slosar says. 

Looking Ahead

The Equity Collective has a multi-year commitment with its partners, and Muñoz says there is an opportunity to expand the initiative into additional areas of the country and add new collaborations with financial services firms, colleges and universities. 


He believes the initiative is a catalyst to be creative and take the lead in promoting change within the financial industry. “We need to be bold and intentional. I am very proud of the work we’ve done, and I’m grateful for the platform we have. It speaks to the commitment that our senior leaders have for diversity, equity and inclusion.”

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