Morgan Stanley unveiled a raft of measures to retain its junior bankers

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Morgan Stanley high speed analyst

Morgan Stanley has followed other U.S. and European investment banks and is now promoting its investment banking analysts after two years instead of three.

The U.S. investment bank has shortened its analyst program to two years with effect from August 1st 2018. It also hiked salaries for its associates by 20% to 25% depending upon the region and the class.

Morgan Stanley's fast tracked new associates include Sotiris Mavrikoglou and Edward Smith in IBD in London. There's even an example of someone who made associate in only 1.5 years in the New York fixed income strats team (Zihan Zhou). However, around six people in the MS 2016 London analyst class are understood to have been held back, and will have to wait another year to make associate at the U.S. bank.

In a move that differentiates it from rivals, Morgan Stanley is also helping its analysts who want to leave after two years, whether for private equity, hedge funds, corporate clients, or business-school. "This new approach reflects a desire to maintain good relations with bankers as they switch from employees to possible clients," says a spokesman.

Analysts who stay with Morgan Stanley and become associates and then vice presidents will be given a paid four week sabbatical in their first year as VPs.

Away from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs looks like one of the best bets for early promotion. The U.S. bank consistently promotes its analysts to associate after just two years in its investment banking division (IBD), and sometimes promotes after two years in securities sales and trading too.

Goldman's new fast-tracked new associates at Goldman include the likes of Timo Seidl in structured finance in London, Suraj Dash in real estate financing in New York, and Jonatan Andersson on the industrials M&A team, also in London - all of whom joined in the 2016 analyst class. As we noted earlier, the firm has also expedited Wajih Ahmed on its London inflation trading desk. He's now an associate too, despite joining two years ago and only being twenty years old.

UBS and Citi began promoting their analysts to associate after two years instead of three back in 2014. These days, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse and - as of January 2018 - Bank of America, also claim to expedite their analyst promotions.

This doesn't mean early promotion is a given. Some of this year's Goldman associate class were promoted after three years, and one of Citi's new associates had been with the bank three and a half years. Andrew Pringle, a corporate finance recruiter and director at Hudson Beck recruiting in London, says early promotions only go to the "super stars". When a bank promotes you to associate, Pringle points out that it has to pay you an associate salary. In London, this means a hike from £60k ($77k) to £80k ($103k).  Most banks are in no rush to spend extra money without good reason.

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