ON THE MOVE-Morgan Stanley lands big broker teams from Merrill, UBS

July 18 Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:51am IST

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July 18 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney landed veteran broker teams that managed more than $4 billion in client assets at rival brokerages Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management Americas, bolstering its adviser force across the United States.

In North Carolina, advisers James Harris and Pam Ashley joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Charlotte office from Merrill Lynch, the brokerage owned by Bank of America.

Harris had been at the firm for more than four decades and managed more than $3 billion in client assets with Ashley, according to a source with knowledge of the move. They had an annual production of roughly $5 million.

In Texas, advisers Javier Vargas and Ramon Perez joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Houston office from UBS Wealth Management Americas, the U.S. brokerage division of the Swiss bank . Vargas and Perez managed $300 million in client assets and generated roughly $3.6 million in revenue.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney confirmed both teams joined but did not comment on the advisers' client assets or production levels.

Also on the move, Arkansas-based advisers Brent Henry, Dustin Colebank and Mike Hudson joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Rogers, Ark. office from Merrill, where they managed $230 million in client assets. They generated more than $2.3 million in annual revenue last year and now report to complex manager John Terry.

From UBS, Florida-based advisers Sheldon Hechtman and Ellen Klersfeld joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Boca Raton, Fla. office. They managed $211 million in client assets and generated $1.6 million in annual revenue last year. They now report to complex manager Michael Higgins.

In Minnesota, adviser Blane Hammer joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Wayzata, Minn. office from UBS, where he managed $120 million in client assets and generated $1.3 million in revenue last year. Hammer, a two-decade industry veteran, now reports to branch manager Peter Keller.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney also said it hired adviser Eliot Ross in New York from Barclays, where he managed $98 million in client assets. Ross joined the firm's Park Central branch in Midtown Manhattan and now reports to branch manager David Turetzky. He generated just over $1 million in annual revenue last year.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was formed after the merger of Morgan Stanley's wealth unit and Citigroup's Smith Barney in 2009. The firm is often neck-and-neck with Merrill Lynch for the spot as the largest U.S. brokerage. UBS Wealth Management Americas is the fourth-largest brokerage.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney had 17,193 advisers managing $1.7 trillion in client assets at the end of March. Morgan Stanley, which has a majority stake in the brokerage, reports second-quarter earnings results on Thursday.

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