January 26, 2012 / 2:56 PM / in 7 years

On The Move: MSSB hires $2.1 mln Merrill team

(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the largest U.S. brokerage, hired two veteran advisers from Merrill Lynch to its broker base, a source with knowledge of the move told Reuters on Wednesday.

Advisers Philip Ressa and Justin Cho joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney earlier this month from Merrill Lynch, where they managed $330 million in client assets. The two advisers last year generated $2.1 million in revenue production.

Ressa and Cho, who joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Jericho, New York, now report to complex manager Jeffrey Reiss. They had been at Merrill Lynch for more than a decade.

The two advisers are the latest Merrill recruits for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which said earlier this month it also hired advisers Don Gill and William LaRosa in Birmingham, Michigan, and advisers Scott Fortney and Grant Fortney in Houston, Texas.

At least 13 advisers, including Ressa and Cho, have joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney since the start of the new year, based on moves tracked by Reuters.

Those new recruits managed a combined $2 billion in client assets at their previous firms, which included Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and UBS.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which has about 17,000 advisers total, resulted from the merger of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management unit and Citigroup’s Smith Barney.

Reporting by Ashley Lau; Editing by Bernard Orr

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