The shrewd career move of the trader who left Barclays for Morgan Stanley

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This time last year, Barclays was embroiled in the strategy review that concluded with a radical slimming down of its investment bank and eventual elimination of 8,000 jobs. Over the course of 2014 there was an exodus of sorts from Barclays as directors and managing directors were either forced out or left of their own accord for better opportunities.

Alok Modi, who was a director in long-end STRIPS trading at Barclays, officially left in January 2014, just before any cuts were unveiled and long before senior employees of the bank started flooding the job market.

He joined Morgan Stanley as head of government bond and CDS trading for Europe. Relatively speaking, Morgan Stanley is a more stable employer, but Modi’s move looks especially shrewd because he’s just been named among the 151 new managing directors at the bank.

Modi not only moved from a shrinking investment bank to one where headcount is more stable and bonus payments likely to be more generous, but within a year, he’s succeeded in making it to managing director – a role that’s becoming ever more difficult to achieve.

As we pointed out in our analysis of the MD class of 2015, Morgan Stanley has placed a greater emphasis on promoting people in revenue generating roles. Last year, there were nearly as many bumped up in technology as in the markets division.

Nonetheless, Modi’s promotion is more remarkable because of his short tenure at Morgan Stanley. A large proportion of those making to managing director at Morgan Stanley have been employed there for most of their career.

Here are a few examples from the class of 2015. Ralph Al Raheb, head of fixed income trading for MENA started at Morgan Stanley 12 years’ ago as an analyst. Frerik Magni, co-head of equities for the Nordic region has been with the bank for over 15 years, and Eric Öhman, an M&A banker who has been at Morgan Stanley since 2000 and never worked at another bank.

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