People : Smith Barney Hires 53 Ex-Drexel Workers

The brokerage firm Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. has hired 53 former Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. employees, including the former deputy chairman of Drexel’s brokerage unit, Maurits E. Edersheim, 71, and 20 individuals who had worked under him.

Smith Barney, a unit of Primerica Corp., said Edersheim will bring with him five mutual funds that his group had managed at Drexel and will continue to manage investment accounts of individuals. The mutual funds, which will now be marketed by Smith Barney, include three international funds--the Worldwide Special Fund, the Worldwide Securities Fund and Winchester Reserves Ltd.--and two domestic funds--Fenimore Equity Series Fund and the Fenimore Income Series Fund. The five funds have combined assets of $260 million.

The hirings come in the wake of the bankruptcy filing last week by Drexel’s parent company and the announced plan to close Drexel’s brokerage unit. A majority of Drexel’s 5,300 employees already have been laid off.

In a statement, Frank G. Zarb, Smith Barney’s chairman and chief executive, said Edersheim and his group were hired because he has “considerable expertise and experience” in international investments, an area Smith Barney is hoping to expand. Edersheim was with Drexel and its predecessor firms since 1950. Dutch by birth, Edersheim served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was in charge of the U.S. Office of Strategic Service’s political intelligence operations in the Netherlands during the war.


In addition, a Smith Barney spokesman said the firm hired 13 former Drexel specialists in corporate restructuring, based in New York and San Francisco, who will concentrate on corporate recapitalizations. The spokesman said the firm also hired 20 people from Drexel’s commercial grain trading business in Chicago. The spokesman said Smith Barney may hire some additional former Drexel workers, but he did not know of specific plans.