Morgan Stanley cybersecurity professionals flee

In a measure of the eagerness of people working in cybersecurity at investment banks, several of Morgan Stanley’s top cybersecurity professionals seem to have found they can find jobs elsewhere.

Morgan Stanley doesn’t comment on the releases of its cyber team, but insiders say there have been several around the world in the past year. Instead of going to other banks, people who leave usually choose to work for technology companies.

One of the most recent defectors is Arun Kumar, a senior member of Morgan Stanley’s threat-hunting analytics and engineering team in Glasgow. Kumar, who resigned a few weeks ago, joined Fastly, a cloud computing provider. He had been with Morgan Stanley for over 15 years.

Other recent releases are more junior. Aviva Cohen, scenario development program manager at Morgan Stanley in Baltimore, left in June to join TikTok as a team leader in threat defense.

A handful of similar exits took place in 2021. Most notably, Karl Anderson, executive director and distinguished engineer at Morgan Stanley in Baltimore, stepped down to become a principal security engineer at AWS. Christina Parry, a former security and data engineer at Morgan Stanley in New York, left after about four years in October 2021 to join Twitter’s detection and response team according to her LinkedIn profile.

The outflows come as banks battle for cybersecurity talent, both with tech companies and with the crypto sector. “Hiring world-class cybersecurity people is extremely difficult,” says Dean Looney, headhunter at Rupert Dean Associates. “The problem is that the best people don’t want to work for banks,” says another tech recruiter. “They don’t even necessarily want to work for big tech companies — the best people want to work for themselves.”

Morgan Stanley is currently recruiting cyber professionals for its offices in Glasgow, Baltimore, London and Singapore. Glassdoor says cybersecurity specialists at the bank in Glasgow earn salaries of £40,000-80,000, while their London peers earn up to £125,000.

Banks aren’t just hiring traditional cyber talent. JPMorgan recently recruited Charles Lim, a quantum encryption expert, to help prepare for the day when quantum computers render existing encryption methods obsolete.

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