In May, Salomon Smith Barney dropped the minimum on its fee accounts to 50,000 dollars from 100,000 dollars. The change affects the firm's AssetOne nondiscretionary fee offering and its Consulting Group wrap accounts.

"The firm is loosening up the reins," an SSB broker says. "We needed to have more flexibility and to be more competitive."

The change also means clients will have more options. "Say you have a client with 250,000 dollars, you can now buy five money managers whereas before you could buy only two," the rep says.

The move puts SSB's account minimum for AssetOne at the same level as similar offerings from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Prudential Securities.