A graduate of St John's College, Cambridge, Robert Gray joined Morgan Guaranty as a management trainee in 1971, moving to New York in 1975. In 1982, he returned to London where he managed Morgan's global syndicated loans business. But it was as head of its London syndicate, between February 1984 and June 1986, that Gray made his mark, helping to establish Morgan as a strong player in investment banking and hence challenging what it viewed as the outdated restrictions of the Glass-Steagall laws in the US. Gray says Morgan continually pushed into new territories. They included innovations such as flip flops as well as variations on established themes - such as taking the Deutschmark curve out to 15 years (unimaginably long, for the Germany of the 1980s) for RJ Reynolds.
A tireless supporter of improved efficiencies and probity in the new issue market, Gray took over from David Band as chairman of IPMA in 1993 while still vice chairman of JP Morgan Securities. The following year he left to become chairman of HSBC Markets.