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Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson Recalls His Best Investment—His First

The often-bearish US equity strategist talks about his career year, and why he likes steering clear of the herd.

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You could say that 2022 was Mike Wilson’s year. The 33-year Morgan Stanley veteran predicted the biggest drop in the S&P 500 among his peers, even before the war broke out in Ukraine and when almost every rival US equity strategist was expecting the opposite. But Wilson, who’s also the New York-based company’s chief investment officer, hasn’t been right every year since he became chief US equity strategist in 2017. He spoke with Bloomberg Markets in late October about his career, the cost of being wrong and the importance of taking personal risk. Days later he was early among strategists to forecast a policy pivot by the US Federal Reserve. “If you’re always part of consensus, then it’s really hard to stand out, and it’s also hard to make a lot of money,” says Wilson, 55. “So for whatever reason, we end up in that kind of lonely place, you know, table for one.”

SONALI BASAK: I figured we’d start at the beginning. How did you end up on Wall Street?