Welcome Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Boy, that is a mouth full. Today, the deal merging Citi’s brokerage (Smith Barney) with Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management Group is closed—ahead of schedule. (It was set to close in the third quarter of this year.) To retain FAs and other employees, Morgan will issue stock equity grants. Morgan already announced it will issue retention awards.
The joint venture, says Morgan’s press release, creates a “world-class” wealth management operation, featuring 18,500 financial advisors who cover 6.8 million client households globally. Branch offices number about 1,000 around the world. Net revenue, on a pro forma basis, is about $14 billion, the firm says. Together, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney controls 34 of Registered Rep.’s Top 100 Wirehouse Advisor list. (List is based on assets; includes 102 names, because of 17 reps were tied with $1 billion in AUM; didn’t seem fair to arbitrarily cut off at 100.) This compares to 35 FAs for Merrill Lynch.
Citi transferred 100 percent of Smith Barney in the deal, for a 49 percent stake. Citi estimates that it will recognize a pre-tax gain of about $10.9 billion or about $6.6 billion after tax. Morgan Stanley, under the stewardship of co-president and chairman of the JV James Gorman, will own 51 percent. Charlie Johnston, the 20-year veteran of Smith Barney, will stay on as president of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.