By Lauren Tara LaCapra
June 12 Morgan Stanley's brokerage joint
venture with Citigroup unit, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,
will eventually drop the Smith Barney name, the investment
bank's chief executive said at an investor conference Tuesday.
The name change, to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, has
been the subject of speculation for more than a year, but Morgan
Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman for the first time
confirmed the branding plan in a public setting.
"It will eventually be called Morgan Stanley Wealth
Management," Gorman told the conference.
Morgan Stanley agreed in 2009 to acquire Smith Barney from
Citigroup in stages, with a timetable to complete its takeover
by 2014. Morgan Stanley currently owns 51 percent of the venture
and recently announced it had approached Citi about acquiring an
additional 14 percent.
Morgan Stanley has controlled and managed the venture since
the deal closed in May 2009, and it was widely expected that
Smith Barney would eventually join many other venerable Wall
Street names in the history books.
Early last year, it emerged that Morgan Stanley polled some
clients about potential new names for the brokerage division,
and that none of the choices included "Smith Barney." That news
followed an announcement that Charles Johnston, the highest
ranking Citigroup executive to have a senior leadership role at
the venture, was retiring at the end of 2011.