UPDATE 1-Morgan Stanley strategist Peters to leave for buyside-sources

Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:04pm EST

By Jennifer Ablan

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Gregory Peters, Morgan Stanley's chief global asset strategist, is leaving after 12 years with the investment bank and wealth manager to pursue opportunities on the buyside, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Peters, 46, whose last day at Morgan Stanley is Friday, joined the firm's investment grade strategy group in 2000 and also served as global director of fixed income and economic research for the past five years.

The sources could not be identified because they were not authorized to speak on the subject.

"He is an outstanding strategist," Dan Fuss, vice chairman and portfolio manager at the $182 billion Loomis Sayles, told Reuters from London. "I am amazed that he would be leaving Morgan Stanley because he is such an asset. He is, quite frankly, a very valuable person. He goes down to the second floor and sits with trading and marketing people. How many people do that?"

Peters has earned accolades for his prescient macro research on high-yield "junk" bonds and corporate credit by Institutional Investor magazine and named Business Insider's Top Analysts and top analysts to watch in 2013 by CEO World.

Since 2009, he has told clients to purchase junk bonds, if they haven't, as credit quality and fundamentals continue to improve in the face of the Federal Reserve's loose monetary policies. The sector has been one of the most profitable for investors, posting returns of between 12-15 percent last year and roughly 57.5 percent in 2009.

Peters, who started his career at the Office of Thrift Supervision, Department of Treasury, as a bank regulator specializing in distressed loan workouts and asset quality examination, previously worked at Salomon Smith Barney.

Morgan Stanley is one of several Wall Street banks using layoffs and compensation cuts to help boost its bottom line.

Morgan Stanley plans to slash 1,600 jobs globally, many of them in its securities unit, sources told Reuters earlier in January.