Baird Private Wealth Management on Tuesday said it hired veteran Smith Barney broker David Perez in Portland, Oregon, the first step in the firm's expansion in the Pacific Northwest region.

For 29 years Perez managed branches for Smith Barney as well as predecessor firms Shearson Lehman Brothers and E.F. Hutton. Recently he supervised 47 brokers in two branches generating a $25 million of annual revenue.

The move marks the latest branch manager lured by Baird from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the brokerage giant formed in a joint venture last year by Citigroup and Morgan Stanley .

The employee-owned Baird added more than 100 advisers to its wealth management group in 2009, and so far this year it has recruited 24 more brokers. It now has more than 650 financial advisers and 69 offices in 22 states.

The Milwaukee-based company also has expanded from its Midwest turf to open new offices in North Carolina, Denver, California, Virginia and Maryland. Baird managed $55 billion of client assets at the end of 2009.

Baird also plans to open more offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, St. Paul, Minnesota, the Rocky Mountain region and other Mid-Atlantic states.

(Reporting by Joseph A. Giannone; Editing by Bernard Orr)