Morgan Stanley ($NYSE:MS) will close all banking operations in Russia during the first quarter of 2020, according to a report from the company's unit in Russia. However, in looking at the company's job listing trends, something we like to call a canary in the coal mine, the company hasn't listed a single job in the Russian Federation since last Chrismas.
In fact, Since May 2018, Morgan Stanley has listed just three jobs in Russia. By December 23, 2018, there were no jobs with any location tags indicating that the job was based in Russia.
This isn't due to a lack of job listings data overall; Morgan Stanley has thousands of postings on its careers page, the majority of which are in the Americas.
What were the two jobs it had openings for before it trailed off into nothing? Deskside Support (Production Support), and an Information Security Officer. Not quite roles like traders and financial controllers it was hiring for back in early 2018.
What does a complete drop off in Russian jobs on Morgan Stanley's own careers page tell us? That we may have seen the company's decision to leave Russia a full five months before its Russia unit leaked details. Should Morgan Stanley do as expected, the company would be closing the subsidiary bank it operated in the country since 2005. The report said the bank would continue to operate a consulting business in the area, which would keep the relationship alive between the bank and the country while also not requiring that Morgan Stanley have a domestic license.
As investors, journalists, and businesses mull the effectiveness in alternative data for predicting news among large businesses, this is definitely one use case to consider.