Morgan Stanley names a head of artificial intelligence as Wall Street leans into AI

The Morgan Stanley digital sign is seen at the company’s Times Square headquarters in New York, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 12, 2016.

John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Morgan Stanley promoted a tech executive in its wealth management division to become the bank’s first head of firm-wide artificial intelligence, CNBC has learned.

The bank is elevating Jeff McMillan, a veteran of the New York-based bank, to help guide its implementation of AI across the firm, according to a memo sent Thursday from co-presidents Andy Saperstein and Dan Simkowitz.

Last year, Morgan Stanley became the first major Wall Street firm to create a solution for employees based on OpenAI’s GPT-4, a project overseen by McMillan.

The move shows the rising importance of artificial intelligence in financial services, sparked by the meteoric rise of generative AI tools that create human-like responses to queries.

While Wall Street firms broadly pared back jobs last year, they competed to fill thousands of AI positions, poaching employees from one another.

In June, JPMorgan named Teresa Heitsenrether its chief data and analytics officer in charge of AI adoption. At Goldman Sachs, Chief Information Officer Marco Argenti is seen as the lead AI advocate.

Read the full Morgan Stanley memo announcing McMillan’s new role:

We are pleased to announce that Jeff McMillan has assumed a new position as Head of Firmwide Artificial Intelligence, co-reporting to us.

Jeff previously led Wealth Management’s Analytics, Data and Innovation organization where he played a key role in driving Wealth Management’s technological evolution, from our Modern Wealth Management platform to most recently our groundbreaking work with our exclusive partner, OpenAI.

In his new role, Jeff will coordinate across the Firm to ensure we have the appropriate AI strategy and governance in place. In doing so, he will partner with the business units and infrastructure areas to identify and prioritize AI opportunities; help position the Firm within the flow of AI development across the industry and ensure that Morgan Stanley continues to be a well-respected innovator in AI.

To execute on our AI strategy, Jeff will work closely Mike Pizzi, Head of U.S. Banks and Technology, Sid Visentini, Head of Firm Strategy and Katy Huberty, Head of Global Research. Katy and Jeff will co-chair the Firmwide AI Steering Group, comprised of business unit and infrastructure representatives.

Please join us in congratulating Jeff on his new role.

Morgan Stanley testing an OpenAI-powered chatbot