Attention Democrats: As of yesterday, you no longer have Smith Barney to kick around anymore. Morgan Stanley
The reference to the Democratic Party comes from the 2008 presidential convention, when a blue-collar worker from Fairmont, Indiana named Barney Smith delivered what had to be the best line from any political speech that year: "We need a president who cares more about Barney Smith than Smith Barney."
The name change comes less than two weeks after Morgan Stanley announced it had reached an agreement with Citigroup
Blah, blah, blah... wait, what did you say?
"The Smith Barney name stood for investment excellence for three-quarters of a century," Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said in the statement announcing the move. "And Morgan Stanley Wealth Management will provide the first-class service that has distinguished Morgan Stanley as a firm for more than 75 years. Going forward, we remain focused on being the world's premier wealth-management group."
For the all the meaningless niceties in those few sentences, in the end, Gorman actually got at something worth noting: Being the world's premier wealth management group is of utmost importance to Morgan Stanley because, like most of Wall Street, it's still scrambling to find its footing four years after the financial crash, and it has to do something to start making serious money again.
It's not you; it's me
Brother-in-arms Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley sees a large part future in wealth management, and its a fair strategy, hence its aggressive move to reacquire MSSB all for its own. But poor Smith Barney. No one likes being dumped. So let's just hope that Morgan Stanley makes the most of Smith Barney's demise by remaining focused on being the world's premier wealth management group, and eventually turns around its ailing fortunes... lest it too goes the way of Smith Barney.
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Fool contributor John Grgurich thinks someone out there ought to use the name Smith Barney Barney Smith, but owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned in this column. Follow John's dispatches from the bleeding edge of capitalism on Twitter @TMFGrgurich.
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