On its 124 offices from Rome to San Francisco, the world's biggest brokerage house will change its name—which is really a household word—on March 1 from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane to Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. The switch was caused by the resignation of General Partner Alpheus Crosby (Alphie) Beane, 47, but it is really a long-needed tribute to the firm's chief executive, Directing Partner Winthrop Hiram Smith, 64.

Smith has been Merrill Lynch's operating boss for more than a decade, directing a huge supermarket of finance that now handles...

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