Jan. 30, 2001 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reps aren’t too phased by loss of the Dean Witter name.The firm plans to drop "Dean Witter" from its name, erasing the 76-year-old brand four years after the merger that created the biggest U.S. securities firm.

"The current brand name is unwieldy," a company spokesperson told RR Online. "It’s always been our intention to shorten the brand name, but it’s been a difficult process in how to do that. What we looked at was the value of each of the components, and we found through research that the name Morgan Stanley is stronger than Dean Witter and more people were familiar with it. Dean Witter is basically a local brand name."

Board members must approve the name change in March. The company spokesperson says the firm’s legal name, Dean Witter Reynolds, might not change. "Our individual broker/dealer will likely still be known as Dean Witter Reynolds. That’s our legal entity. But the brand name is Morgan Stanley."

According to a Morgan Stanley broker in the Southwest, the name change is "no big deal. It’s obvious who we are," he says. "I felt it was obvious that was the way they were going when the firms merged. I’m actually glad they shortened it up. I suppose they could have called it Morgan Witter but that isn’t anybody. The old-timers like me are still going to call it Dean Witter. It’s a little more convenient and less unwieldy."

Says another veteran Morgan Stanley West Coast rep, "We old guys will miss the Dean Witter name, but it’s only logical that they shorten the name. It is too unwieldy."

This is the second name shortening for the company. When Morgan Stanley Group Inc. and Dean Witter, Discover & Co merged in May 1997, the new firm was called Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co. In March 1998, "Discover" was eliminated from the name. -- Rick Weinberg, Online Editor

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