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Morgan Stanley Fires Municipal Strategist Friedlander

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney fired George Friedlander, a municipal bond strategist for more than three decades, as it integrates two formerly separate firms, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Friedlander, 62, worked at Citigroup Inc. and its predecessors for 34 years, publishing weekly analysis of the U.S. municipal market. He joined the Morgan Stanley unit in 2009. The world’s largest brokerage, with $1.6 trillion in client assets, was formed last year as a joint venture when Morgan Stanley bought control of the Smith Barney broker unit of Citigroup.

Friedlander was among 200 employees let go, mostly from product support areas, according to a person with knowledge of the reductions. Friedlander declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement. Jim Wiggins, a Morgan Stanley spokesman, declined to comment.

Friedlander, who provided market and portfolio ideas to rich investors and institutional clients, was named to Institutional Investor’s “All-American Research Team” for 14 years, according to his biography. He was a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s municipal division executive committee for 29 years. In 1997, Friedlander received the association’s Chairman’s Contribution Award, for service to the industry.

Friedlander graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Pace University in New York.

The Bond Buyer newspaper reported Friedlander’s firing earlier today.

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