While he may have started down a traditional banking career path, armed with a degree in finance and real estate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Andre quickly changed course, by choosing to commit to an area of finance, Securities Lending, that was relatively unknown to him.
“I really wanted a challenge where I would have to branch out and make greater use of my interpersonal skills,” he says. “Marrying technical knowledge learned in school with the ability to be a sales-trader and effectively get people on my side. The job required both strong quantitative and qualitative skills.”
Andre, who emigrated with his family from Jamaica when he was a boy, says he’s an introvert at heart, but he’s also a sports fanatic who looks forward to throwing an annual Super Bowl party for extended family and friends, especially if his beloved Eagles are playing. It’s that love of competition, combined with a flair for drawing people together, that has come to define his role at Morgan Stanley, where he is currently an Executive Director in the Securities Lending division of Bank Resource Management (BRM).
My group is responsible for financing the short positions of both the firm and the firm’s clients. Essentially, my job is to provide liquidity to our clients when they want to hedge an existing long position or take a bearish view on a stock by going short. This means interacting with our hedge fund and institutional sales teams, navigating the complexity of the financing markets, and figuring out the best, most effective, most efficient way to do that. As an example: If a client thinks a company‘s stock price is going to decline and they want to express that in the marketplace, my team provides them with the liquidity to settle the position, helping them understand the cost and liquidity risk of putting on their trade—and we do that for hundreds of clients across the U.S. securities market.
No day is exactly like any other. The one commonality is that I am constantly interacting with different people across my team—whether those are the sales-traders, traders or our sourcing team—and speaking directly with institutional lenders, agent banks, custodians and all kinds of asset owner across the globe. The role also takes me into other areas of Morgan Stanley, such as Equity Derivatives, GCM and the Wealth Management division, where we can partner and provide expertise or solutions.
I have to be able to communicate effectively, to constantly create relationships and partnerships with various stakeholders in order for us as a team to be as effective as we are. We’re the No. 1 franchise in securities lending and we pride ourselves on being able to solve complex problems for our clients, to provide liquidity when others can’t.
One of my mentors at Morgan Stanley, who has since retired, was one of the hungriest, most energetic people I’ve ever come across in my life. He told me that in your career, you’ll always have a chance for a “do-over.” What he meant by that was, a career is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint, and it’s critical to persevere. You have to develop tenacity and approach every day with that same attitude. When something goes wrong, you have to be a grown-up. There’s no crawling into any shells, there’s no crying, there’s no lying down and sleeping for 12 hours or feeling sorry for yourself. The mistake happened, so let’s understand why it happened, because tomorrow we’re going to have a chance to make it better.
I’m involved heavily in recruiting. For the past two years, I was the co-lead of the Summer Analyst Program for BRM. And for two or three years prior to that, I participated in campus visits at the University of Pennsylvania. I don’t view recruiting or interacting with interns or potential candidates as a job. I really don’t. I think any time I get an opportunity to interact with younger people and pass on some of the advice that I was lucky enough to get, that’s a good thing.
I always knew I was good at the day-to-day, technical aspects of my job. But in order to get to the next level, you can’t be a one-trick pony. Making Executive Director was a goal of mine, and I had a two-year plan that I set for myself. During that time, I transitioned into a new role, and it was probably the most challenging I’d ever had, as far as the myriad skill sets I had to implement. So I knew that was a critical time to show that I could make the leap from just being somebody who is good at their day job to someone who could be a future leader of this business.
The level of camaraderie that I have with my peers is something that I did not expect. Work hard, play hard is our mantra, and it’s definitely something you can see on our desk on a daily basis. If you’d asked me on Day One what I was looking to get out of my career at Morgan Stanley, I probably would have said money, prestige and all that stuff. But the thing that makes me happy is the ability to work with my team and to solve problems together and the general camaraderie we have on the desk. They are my work family, and it’s a pleasure to work with them. I truly mean it when I say I enjoy coming to work every day.