As Wall Street Aims for Silicon Valley, Morgan Stanley Creates New Tech ‘Transformation’ Role

July 24, 2018, 10:42 PM UTC

As Wall Street firms seek to transform into technology companies, investment banking giant Morgan Stanley is taking another step.

The firm on Tuesday named Sigal Zarmi, chief information officer at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, to a new position within the bank’s technology division called Head of Transformation. Zarmi is expected to start later this year.

“Sigal’s exceptional expertise in technology transformation at scale will be critical in helping lead the technology organization through the significant change necessary to maximize the firm’s technology investment and provide our clients and businesses with innovative products and solutions,” Robert Rooney, Morgan Stanley’s head of technology, wrote in a memo to employees.

Previously, Sigal was also CIO of GE Capital Americas. She holds an MBA from Columbia and a bachelor’s degree from the Israel Institute of Technology, where she studied engineering.

The appointment comes as Morgan Stanley increasingly focuses on its tech strategy. For example, Rooney himself was tapped to work solely on the firm’s tech strategy after previously overseeing that as well as serving as the bank’s chief for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. Now, he is expected to focus on issues including artificial intelligence, automation, and cybersecurity.

As Morgan Stanley grows its technology strategy, bank creates new role of head of transformation for Sigal Zarmi.Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley

“Given the rapid pace of technological change and the ever increasing importance of technology in both furthering our business leadership and protecting our Firm and our clients, I am grateful that Rob has agreed to make technology his sole focus,” Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman wrote to employees at the time.

Morgan Stanley also hired Michael Kearns, a computer sciences professor at the University of Pennsylvania and alumnus of Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital, to lead the bank’s research into A.I.

Morgan Stanley isn’t alone in its push into technology as Wall Street fights to maintain their dominance over digitally native financial technology companies while cutting costs. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for example has said that his bank is a “technology firm,” while J.P. Morgan increased its technology spending to $10.8 billion for 2018, up 15% from the year prior.