Morgan Stanley prime brokerage business founder Portogallo to retire

The stalwart of the industry-leading prime brokerage business at Morgan Stanley will retire after serving over 30 years with the US firm.

One of the founders of the prime brokerage unit at Morgan Stanley, Rich Portogallo, is set to retire after building the division into one of the industry’s leading businesses.

Portogallo, who joined the US investment bank in 1986 as one of the founding members of its then-emerging prime brokerage business, will retire in March according to an internal memo.

“There is no name more synonymous with the prime brokerage business at Morgan Stanley than Rich Portogallo,” said Ted Pick, Morgan Stanley’s head of trading and investment banking in the memo.

“Some of the Firm’s most established clients of today were only an entrepreneur’s vision when Rich first identified, connected and institutionalised their business aspirations. This consistency of excellence, covering generations of successful alternative asset managers, is unmatched in the industry.”

Portogallo was most recently global head of institutional equities clients and services, but also served as its global head of prime brokerage. In his time at the bank, Portogallo has established Morgan Stanley as an industry leader that dominates the prime brokerage landscape. He helped rebuild the business from the wreckage of the financial crisis, at a time where hedge funds had began pulling their money en-masse after Lehman’s demise , and established relationships with the world’s largest hedge funds.

Morgan Stanley has, over the years, become a frequent recipient of The TRADE’s sister publication Global Custodian’s awards for excellence in client service. In November, the bank picked up the ‘Prime Broker of the Year’ award. Portogallo is the second high-profile figure to leave the bank in recent months. At the end of last year, Alex Ehrlich, its former co-head of the prime brokerage business, retired after nearly 11 years with the firm and a career spanning 40 years. The prime brokerage unit is now solely led by Ben Walker.