A senior analyst has left Bank of America Securities after five years with the organization and moved to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter with the same title.

Diane Merdian started at Morgan Stanley last Tuesday. She works in San Francisco and shares coverage of large banks with fellow senior analyst David Hilder, who is based in New York. She reports to Dennis Shea, director of research and a former bank analyst for Morgan Stanley.

"Change is hard," Ms. Merdian said. "But Morgan Stanley is a great firm that has a long-term commitment to financial services."

Ms. Merdian, 40, is to follow about a dozen companies -- including her former employer's parent, Bank of America Corp., plus Wells Fargo & Co., Chase Manhattan Corp., Citigroup Inc., and Wachovia Corp. She plans to launch coverage in April, after first-quarter earning are reported.

Ms. Merdian started at Montgomery Securities in 1995. It was bought in 1997 by NationsBank Corp., which merged with BankAmerica Corp. in 1998.

Previously she worked for a year at Smith Barney covering European banks. Before that, she was a buy-side analyst at Wellington, focusing on banks and other financial institutions.

Adam Compton, 34, has also joined Morgan Stanley Dean Witter from Bank of America Securities, where he spent four years. Mr. Compton covers mid-cap stocks.

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