Hello Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

  • JJ Hornblass
  • June 1, 2009
  • 0

Lots of surnames, lots of cost savings.

That’s the upshot of the new Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the new retail brokerage that combines the operations of Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. And to think that Citi wanted to kill the “Smith Barney” name long ago.

But this is not about brands. It is about cost savings, and Citi will be swimming in it.

According to Citi: “At closing, Citi estimates it will recognize a pre-tax gain of approximately $10.9 billion, or approximately $6.6 billion on an after-tax basis, create close to an estimated $7.8 billion of tangible common equity and increase Citi’s Tier 1 capital ratio by approximately 86 basis points on a pro forma basis as of March 31, 2009.”

That despite the fact that Citi “will transfer 100 percent of its Smith Barney, Smith Barney Australia and Quilter retail units for a 49 percent stake in the joint venture and an upfront cash payment of $2.75 billion.” Morgan is not putting any cash into the venture.

Go to the new venture’s website and check out the video pitch. What I found interesting was that the pitch included a comment about “stability,” about how Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was a financially sound venture. You’ve got to admire the gumption.

But perhaps this is the most important statistic of all: $14 billion in combined pro forma net revenue. No wonder they kept the “Smith Barney” name.

Morgan’s announcement.
Citi’s annoucement.
The new site for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at hornblass@gmail.com or 212-564-8972.

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