By Imani Moise
(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley is expanding a program to recruit Black professionals into its markets business regardless of their experience in financial services, bank executives said.
Last Fall, the Wall Street giant launched the Morgan Stanley Experienced Professional Program, which invites Black professionals from any field to apply, in a bid to improve diversity within the business after nationwide protests against racial inequality over the summer.
The structure was meant to cast a wider net to reach qualified candidates typically missed by the traditional Morgan Stanley recruitment process, said Derek Melvin, a managing director in the fixed income division who designed the program.
Since launching the program in its fixed income & business resource management divisions, the bank has added a second cohort to its equity research division and is currently recruiting for a third group within its equity sales and trading department.
"We're looking for candidates that demonstrate success in their previous careers and a willingness to adapt and understand the transferable skills that would be relevant and beneficial in our world," said Sam Lalanne, head of diversity & inclusion of Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities group.
The first cohort started rigorous training last month and includes former lawyers, educators and government officials. One new hire spent his career as an aviation mechanic with Delta Air Lines, another was an intelligence officer, and another was a media producer.
Less than a third of the group had a background in financial services.
Executives overseeing the initiative so far say they hope to see the model taken up by other lines of business across the firm.
"The expectation is that the structure and the objectives of this program - of looking for applicants from diverse backgrounds with no experience in finance.....is definitely one that could be leveraged elsewhere," Lalanne said.
(Reporting by Imani Moise: Editing by Neil Fullick)