Think of it as a high-tech nirvana. Since setting up shop in Montréal’s hip multimedia district in 2008, Morgan Stanley’s Technology and Engineering Centre has been luring some of the most brilliant minds in the IT industry from all over the world. Its more than 500 employees are the creative brains behind applications ranging from trade capture systems to mobile apps, ensuring the company stays nimble in the investment world where speed is king. And Morgan Stanley is showing no signs of slowing down – with plans to increase the number of developers and engineers to meet its burgeoning needs.
Montréal earned the top score as the best location when the Morgan Stanley was assessing sites for The Technology and Engineering Centre, and the centre is the firm’s only all-technology location in Canada.
“Our decision was based on a market study that looked at the availability of skills in local markets, market size, costs, local incentives, university programs and number of graduates,” says Alan Vesprini, Managing Director.
Morgan Stanley invests heavily in advanced technology and recruits some of the highest calibre people in the industry, including data warehouse specialists, analysts, architects, engineers and developers. “We like to hire really smart problem-solvers, and Québec universities are producing the kind of talent we need,” says Vesprini.
“Our dedicated development teams create applications used by our business units such as tools to support complex trading activity, pricing engines, confirmation systems, as well as risk management and accounting systems. We also have infrastructure-facing teams who provide systems to run our business, such as the firm’s networks, computing hardware, operating systems and databases for trading, mobile and other end-user applications.”
To scout schools for highly skilled people, the company uses innovative recruitment strategies such as hosting “code jams,” where creative developers on campus compete to write the best code. “After we see how well they perform in competitions, we get a real sense of what they can do for our company,” says Vesprini.
Once the new recruits are on board, the Centre prides itself in a high employee retention rate. To maintain the loyalty of its employees, the company’s location has to have a big appeal. “Being in Montréal is definitely a plus for our employees. They come from all corners of the world and appreciate the cosmopolitan aspect of the city,” he says. “We have a very open and inclusive culture in our company, and being in Montréal certainly reinforces that.”
Vesprini also points to Morgan Stanley’s relationship with Investissement Québec as one of the reasons the company has been so successful in Montréal. “They are on our speed dial and are always ready to give us advice and open up networking opportunities. The team facilitates meetings with government officials and with other local companies. As well, they keep us aware of any changes to current policies or programs that may affect us.”
“We have a bright future here and are foreseeing growth down the road. We hope to expand our staff of developers and engineers and are currently looking at real estate options to accommodate this growth,” he concludes.