A wealth-management joint venture between Morgan Stanley and Citigroup's Smith Barney boasts roughly 18,500 advisers and 6.8 million client households, an operation on the scale of Merrill Lynch. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney launches five months after Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch. Morgan Stanley owns 51% of the venture. "It's kind of nice to do a deal when the world of financial services is down on its heels," said James Gorman, chairman of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. "We think this is a unique opportunity to be a game changer."

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