Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman told his employees that despite the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic, their jobs will be secure through this year.
"I am sure some, if not many, of you are worried about your jobs," Gorman said Thursday in a staff memo.
"While long term we can't be sure how this will play out, we want to commit to you that there will not be a reduction in force at Morgan Stanley in 2020," Gorman said. "Aside from a performance issue or a breach of the Code of Conduct, your jobs are secure."
Morgan Stanley, a top player in wealth management, investment banking and equities trading, had 60,431 employees at year-end. Citigroup, a far bigger employer with more than 200,000 workers, will at least temporarily refrain from layoffs as CEO Mike Corbat doesn't want to impose hardship on his staff, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
While Morgan Stanley's move is sure to calm frayed nerves on Wall Street, the bank had just completed a reduction in force of about 2% of its staff late last year, as CNBC first reported. The job cuts at the time, part of an annual cull typical of Wall Street's cost-cutting moves in recent years, focused on technology and operations personnel.
"At the end of this year, we will know what we are dealing with, and hopefully the economy will be on the mend by then," Gorman added.
About 90% of the bank's employees were working from home to reduce the spread of the coronvirus, according to Gorman.
The CEO also praised the actions of governments around the world to combat the job losses and economic impact of the pandemic.
"Governments across the world are putting aside their politics to arrive at blockbuster support and stimulus packages," he said. "Way too many people have lost their jobs overnight, and it is essential for governments to act as aggressively as they can. Now governments are focused on the surge in unemployment and putting in place significant measures in support of consumers, small businesses and corporations."