Building connections is something Tracy Castle-Newman has done throughout her two-decade career at Morgan Stanley. It has helped her take on unfamiliar new jobs and bridge product and client groups across the firm, both as a mentor to Morgan Stanley colleagues and as a business leader, and let her rise to COO of Global Institutional Equity Distribution.
Part of her work has focused on helping women in the firm forge the connections they need to achieve personal success as well as advance through the firm. To that end, she has put together conferences and workshops for women clients in the asset management industry to meet new investors and exchange information they might otherwise not have access to.
"We've created a network of like-minded people," Castle-Newman says. "None of these women knew each other before and now many of them have become friends who freely share ideas with each other. The knowledge was always there, but we've elevated their exposure." Castle-Newman recently took some time out to talk about building relationships at Morgan Stanley. Watch as Tracy shares her insights on The Power of Female Portfolio Managers in this Morgan Stanley Minute.
In 2009, I co-founded the Women's Business Alliance with Suzanne Charnas, who is also a Managing Director here. It is a professional network for women at the firm. A big piece of it was about bringing content to women they didn't get from the people they interacted with on a daily basis. We started to give them exposure to other people who were outside their natural networks. And all of a sudden, they got broader sponsorship.
What's really exciting to me is that when I got promoted to Managing Director, women were 9% of the total number, and we're now 21%. So, I feel good about our momentum.
I went to Virginia Tech. I thought I wanted to be an accountant, but after taking a few finance classes, I found my passion. So I switched my major to finance, which I like to describe as accounting with a personality.
Right out of school, I got a job as an assistant branch manager at a bank, where I worked for four years. I left to work in Treasury and then as a controller in proprietary trading. In 1996, I got a call from a headhunter about a job at Morgan Stanley in the Finance Division and I took it. This led to a role in the Equity Division called Client Focused Marketing. In 2006, Fixed Income and Equities merged. And at the time, something called unbundling was happening in the UK. I went to my manager and said, “There is a commercial opportunity here. And I want to run it.” And he said, “Okay.”
I am the Chief Operating Officer of Global Institutional Equity Distribution, where my responsibilities include Client Strategy and Business development, ETF product management, Systematic Advisory Strategy, Commission Management and an institutional client joint venture between Equity and Fixed Income and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. I am also a member of the Equity Operating Committee.
I like helping clients solve problems, knowing that that not only drives performance for them but it helps us grow our business as well. In order to do that, you have to balance the tactical with the strategic and bring all the pieces together. I think people would describe me as a connector, and that is what allows me to create value opportunities.
I find I learn as much by being a mentor as I did by being mentored. The more senior you get, the less connected you are to the day-to-day, so your knowledge comes from junior people on the ground who are in constant communication with you. They will put a problem in front of you, and you will help tell them how to solve it. But then you realize that your problem, while it may be more complex, has exactly the same attributes, and you end up solving a challenge of your own in the process.
I always talk about your sphere of influence. I don't know exactly how many people I manage but I do know I influence thousands and thousands of people, not only in the Equity division but firmwide.
Your ability to influence people is what allows you to get things done. Having an idea is one thing, but your idea is only good if you implement it successfully. The only way you can implement successfully is by working with other people, and at Morgan Stanley, the power of that network and that influence is huge.