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Morgan Stanley's unpopular ex-head of tech is a fintech CEO

If you work in technology at Morgan Stanley, you're probably familiar with Rob Rooney. But the name might also give you a slight shudder.

Rooney is the man who oversaw a purge of senior technology staff at Morgan Stanley in 2019. He's also the man who came global head of technology, operations and resilience at Morgan Stanley in 2017, thereby bringing developer jobs under his purview even though he didn't have a technology background. Rooney was originally a fixed income sales guy.

Now, though, he's changed again. Rooney is a fintech guy. - He's just become CEO of HyperJar, a digital wallet fintech with the intention of helping 'people plan and navigate their journey from depositing money to spending it, digitising, capturing, and rewarding their intent.'

Rooney seems to have moved into fintech tentatively. He left Morgan Stanley last year and first joined the board of Hyperjar in October 2022. Founder Mat Megens (himself a former Morgan Stanley VP) seems to have persuaded Rooney to go deeper. 

He's likely to be hiring rather than firing in his new fintech home. Hyperjar added executives from Deliveroo and Zilch last year and steadily hired throughout 2022. 

Rooney joins a roster of other Morgan Stanley people in fintech. Stripe and Coinbase each have an ex-Morgan Stanley MD in a senior position. The crypto giant has another Rooney - Ian - who after nine years at the bank joined them as their head of enterprise compliance in 2021. Stripe meanwhile acquired Anatol Vizitiu to work in treasury and capital markets in 2020; he'd been at Morgan Stanley since the turn of the millennium.

Why are people like Rooney in such high demand? A fintech issue of the financial technologist conducted a poll on what finance professionals considered a good tech leader and the number one response at 45% was to be "invested in the team and progress." 

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor
  • An
    20 January 2023

    You argue he's unpopular due to the 2019 cuts. But those cuts preceded the pandemic which was arguably the most challenging time for the Technology organization (an overnight switch to WFH and record setting trade/deal volumes). The Technology organization and Firm fared quite well during those times, so one could argue these cuts were wise.

    A shame you don't include insights from those who worked with Rob more closely and recently before you decide about his popularity, consistency or technology skills.

  • An
    20 January 2023

    Love HyperJar - it's fantastic for kids and nails the challenge of how to give accounts to young people by setting them up in the name of a parent and then "sharing" the account.

    However, it suffers from the same problem that all FinTechs face: they're growing by giving away their product. What's the plan? Get to scale and then start charging? Will loyal customers want to pay for something they've been getting for free?

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