Morgan Stanley Among First to Add Uber to Travel Policy

Morgan Stanley employees can use Uber Technologies Inc. cars for company trips, making the bank one of the first firms to make it policy to reimburse employees for the service.

“Employees expressed their strong affinity for the convenience Uber offers them in their personal lives and wanted that flexibility for their business travel needs as well,” Jeff Brodsky, human resources chief at New York-based Morgan Stanley, said today in a statement.

Morgan Stanley, the top underwriter of technology initial public offerings last year, joins Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc in offering support to Uber, which may be among the next Silicon Valley firms to access the public markets. Uber, started in 2009 by Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick and co-founder Garrett Camp, raised $1.2 billion in a June financing that valued it at $17 billion.

Uber is using a ride-hailing app on smartphones to move into transportation markets that have been dominated by taxis and limousine drivers. The San Francisco-based firm operates in 220 cities in 45 countries.

Uber started its business-travel service earlier this year, saying that companies had asked for it. In July, the company said it wouldn’t change pricing and per-trip commission of 20 percent for corporate clients. Uber for Business offers tools for companies to analyze how their transportation accounts are being used.

Morgan Stanley has reduced costs in the last two years, cutting jobs and targeting an expense ratio of less than 79 percent. The firm’s ratio was 77 percent in the first nine months of this year, down from 84 percent in 2012.

Barclays and Deutsche Bank were pilot customers on the business-travel service, and executives from those banks praised it in a blog post on Uber’s website in July. There have been 128 technology IPOs this year, the most since 2011.

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