It is a bit of a mouthful: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. That is the name of the joint venture between Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, finalized on June 1, 2009, which created the largest wealth management network in the U.S. with around 18,000 financial advisors.
But the firm is considering getting rid of the second half of that name, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal today which cites unnamed sources. According to the sources, the firm recently sent a survey to clients that asks them to choose between six potential names, none of which include the Smith Barney brand. Among those on the list? Morgan Stanley Advisors, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management. That last is the name Morgan Stanley's wealth management division had before it merged with Smith Barney. (Read about the division's latest earnings and how the integration process is proceeding.)
A spokesman for the firm had the same comment for us that he did for the Journal: "We regularly survey clients on a lot of things relevant to our brand, so I would not read a whole lot into this."
Read the full Wall Street Journal story.