Who is Jeff McMillan? Morgan Stanley’s First Head of AI

Investment banking company Morgan Stanley has named Jeff McMillan its first Head of AI, in a bid to transform the future of digital finance

Keen on powering an AI revolution, Morgan Stanley is starting to capitalise further on its AI investments and the business developments it can offer.

As a result, it has named Jeff McMillan its first Head of AI firmwide. McMillan will help coordinate the firm’s AI strategy and partner with business units to find and best prioritise AI opportunities, according to Bloomberg News.

In his new position, he will also work closely with Head of US Banks and Technology Mike Pizzi, Managing Director and Head of Firm Strategy Sebastiano Visentini and Head of Global Research Katy Huberty.

Delivering new AI capabilities

Prior to his new role, McMillan was Chief Analytics and Data Officer for Morgan Stanley. Having held this position since 2016, he was involved heavily with innovation for the bank’s wealth-management unit.

He also previously worked for investment management company, Merrill Lynch, as Managing Director for its research department.

“I am proud of what we have achieved so far and am excited for what’s ahead, says McMillan in a LinkedIn post. “Thanks and admiration to Morgan Stanley leadership for being out in front on this to deliver these differentiated capabilities in a thoughtful and responsible manner.”

Having estimated that power demand from generative AI (Gen AI) will increase at an annual average of 70% by 2027, Morgan Stanley has committed itself to growing its interests in AI. Last year, the organisation became the first major Wall Street bank to create a product for employees based on OpenAI’s GPT-4 chatbot.

Announced in September 2023, the AI enables bankers to use a virtual assistant to quickly find research or forms instead of sifting through hundreds of thousands of documents. It highlights the strategic importance of businesses capitalising on the growing interest and importance of AI, particularly within the US financial services industry.

McMillan has overseen this project in partnership with OpenAI. Now, he will be coordinating across the entire firm as Head of AI to ensure that it has appropriate AI strategies and governance in place. To achieve this, he will partner with the business units and infrastructure areas.

The company’s research suggests that Gen AI will only continue to offer positive impacts - especially concerning sustainability, with AI perhaps being used to reduce global carbon emissions.

Currently, there is much debate over Gen AI use in banking, with a FIS study confirming that 62% believe that increased regulations in the sector would increase trust.

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