Morgan Stanley Appoints Head of AI as Wall Street Seeks to Leverage Technology

In a recent move, Morgan Stanley appointed a new head of artificial intelligence. The appointment, as stated in a memo by the bank’s copresidents, Dan Simkowitz and Andy Saperstein, will help guide the implementation of artificial intelligence across the company.

Jeff McMillan, a former tech executive in the bank’s wealth management division, is now the new head of AI. Prior to this appointment, McMillan had led Wealth Management’s Analytics, Data & Innovation organization. He played a significant part in driving the technological evolution of wealth management.

This development comes after the bank, in 2023, became the first major company on Wall Street to develop a solution for employees based on GPT-4 by OpenAI. The solution provides financial advisors with faster access to Morgan Stanley’s database.

McMillan will be in charge of coordinating across the company to ensure that the appropriate artificial intelligence governance and strategies are in place. This will require him to collaborate with the infrastructure areas and business units to better prioritize and identify opportunities in AI. He will also be responsible for positioning the company in the thick of artificial intelligence development in the industry while ensuring that the company remains an esteemed AI innovator.

McMillan is expected to work closely with head of global research, Katy Huberty; head of firm strategy, Sid Visentini; and head of U.S. banks & technology, Mike Pizzi. In addition, he will cochair the companywide AI steering group with Huberty. The group is made up of infrastructure and business unit representatives.

This recent move demonstrates the increasing importance of AI in financial services, which has been driven by the rise of generative artificial intelligence tools that give human-like responses to questions, such as ChatGPT.

While most companies on Wall Street reduced their job offerings last year, the multinational investment bank and financial services company and a few other companies competed to fill AI positions, even going as far as to lure and poach employees from other organizations.

In June 2023, Teresa Heitsenrether was appointed to the role of chief data and analytics officer responsible for the adoption of AI by JPMorgan. Heitsenrether’s appointment is well deserved, particularly because since she gained control of securities services, the division’s revenue has increased by more than 20%.

Assets under custody also grew by nearly $9 million. Prior to her appointment, Heitsenrether led the global expansion of its brokerage business. Marco Agenti, a Chief Information Officer, is Goldman Sachs’ lead AI advocate.

With companies such as Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) manufacturing advanced computer components such as semi-conductors, it is unlikely to be hard for Morgan Stanley and other businesses to access the specialized components and systems they need to tap the benefits of AI.

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