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MSSB Taps Former-Merrill Exec for Regional Post

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney named Devon Baranski, formerly of the Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group (PBIG), as the new head of its ultra-high-net-worth operations in the Southwest. “I am pleased to announce that after a thorough search, Devon Baranski will join Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management as the PWM Regional Manager for the Southwest,” said Douglas J. Ketterer, head of the U.S. private-wealth management operations, in an e-mail sent to regional staff on July 7.

“In this role, Devon will serve as a leader and valuable partner in helping support and drive UHNW business development in the Southwest region,” Ketterer explained. “Devon will be based in the Los Angeles PWM office and will report directly to me.”

At Merrill, Baranski managed the western region of Merrill Lynch’s private-banking operations, including the opening of Merrill’s first private-banking office in Los Angeles in June 2001. This office became “the flagship office for Merrill’s PBIG efforts,” according to Ketterer. Most recently, Baranski was head of wealth management for Leerink Swann, a health-care focused investment bank and brokerage firm.

“The southwest region represents one of the largest growth opportunities for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management,” Ketterer explained. “The region continues to see growth of $10-million-plus households, with California having the largest portion of high-income households in the Western U.S. Additionally, the market share of $10-million-plus households in the Southwest is particularly fragmented among financial firms, with no one firm garnering a significant share of the market.”

Recently, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney said it would allow about 600 advisors to fully access LinkedIn and partially access Twitter. Over the next six months, it plans for its entire FA force to have access to these social-media outlets as a way to stay in touch with existing clients and work with prospective clients.