Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. recently announced several hirings and promotions in its municipal institutional sales operation, contrary to market speculation earlier this year that the firm would scale back the department.

"We said we were going to utilize the institutional sales to support retail, and that's what we've done, but we were never getting out of the institutional side of the business," said Brian W. Devlin, senior vice president at the firm. "We have refocused, but we've been aggressive about replacing staff and are scheduled to add more."

Alan Levy and Thomas Pirro, both formerly salesmen and vice presidents with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp., were hired as institutional salesmen and first vice presidents in Dean Witter's New York office.

George Morrissey, formerly vice president at First Albany Corp., joins the New York office as a vice president and salesman. Rodney Spangler, formerly an institutional salesman with Kemper Securities Inc., was also hired as a salesman and vice president, and will be based in the firm's Chicago office.

In municipal institutional trading, Albert DeAngelis, formerly an institutional long-dollar bond trader with Cantor Fitzgerald Fixed Income Brokers Inc. and Prudential Bache, was hired as senior long-end trader and first vice president.

In January, market sources said that Dean Witter was dramatically scaling back its institutional effort and would focus mostly on retail activities. In the restructuring process, several staff members were eliminated.

Others left on their own, including Phil Korot, executive vice president and managing director of Dean Witter's municipal finance department, and John D. Seeley, senior vice president and manager of the firm's national institutional trading desk. The loss of such top officials prompted some market observers to speculate that the department would be closed altogether.

In addition, market sources said that Dean Witter would no longer underwrite competitive issues of more than $10 million, a level that some said would essentially preclude the firm from running the books on many issues. Dean Witter officials said the $10 million limit would be a guideline, but that the firm would take larger positions on certain credits.

Consistent with statements made in January, Dean Witter officials said the firm would concentrate on the retail side of the business, but would not abandon the institutional effort.

In the year through May 23, Dean Witter has been the lead manager on 25 issues totaling $999.3 million, with 14 of the issues larger than $10 million, according to Securities Data Co. Four of the issues of more than $10 million, totaling $79 million, were competitive issues.

Dean Witter expects to add another trader and "one or two" salesmen in New York and another in San Francisco, the firm's press release said.

Along with the new personnel, the firm also announced promotions for several internal staff members.

Stephen Grant, formerly a sales assistant, was named a salesman in the firm's San Francisco office. In the trading department, Michael Glynn, formerly a vice president, was named manager for the greater New York metro region, and Alan Geng, a vice president, was placed in charge of trading New York and Puerto Rico issues.

Elsewhere, Joseph Lombardi was reassigned from retail sales liaison in New York to the institutional sales desk in Chicago. Retail sales liaison Anthony Liotti, formerly in the Northeast regional district retail department, joined the institutional sales desk in New York, the firm said.

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