Concern had spread among some of Merrill Lynch’s 15,500 advisers that they would face curbs like those imposed by the bank’s U.S. Trust unit, said the people. The policy bans associates who leave from soliciting the firm’s clients for eight months, starting with a two-month garden leave. The term refers to workers who are ordered to stay home after they give notice, leaving them little to do other than gardening. “Contrary to press and recruiter speculation, there are no changes coming from Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors on any type of garden leave,” Krawcheck wrote in a Feb. 25 memo, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. “Please put that one in the circular file.” [Bloomberg]
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Heralding a “new era” at the nation’s largest bank, Mr. Moynihan kicked off the bank’s first investor day conference since 2007 promising the bank has no intention of making any more acquisitions and will instead look to cut costs and focus on its customers. “I can’t stress enough to you how much of a peace dividend we’ll get without mergers,” Mr. Moynihan said, adding the bank doesn’t need anything. “That peace dividend is effectively a permanent dividend.” [WSJ]
Management would like to remind everyone look on the bright side. Read more »
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange casually mentioned that his next target will be “a large US bank,” with a dump so damning it could “take down” a firm “or two.” As we and other have pointed out, it’s difficult to conceive of any documents Mr. Assange could leak that would “expose” or even embarrass BAC (or whatever US bank he’s going after) in a way that it hasn’t already embarrassed itself and lived to tell the tale. And on Tuesday, executives said they didn’t have any “indication,” they were the target. Still, though, you can never be too careful when it comes to Mr. Dribbles, which is why the bank has apparently distributed .44 Magnums to its legal team. Read more »
You know how in the wake of the feds’ Insider Trading Fest(ivus) 2010, a bunch of firms have been able to wipe the sweat off their brows while telling investors and the media that they are not the subject of an FBI investigation, i.e. in the clear? Endearingly, Bank of America seems to believe the WikiLeaks situation (founder Julian Assange claims a “big US bank,” which many believe is BAC, will be his next target, early next year) works the same way. Namely, that they’ll be receiving a formal letter from Mr. Dribbles re: whether or not they’re going down for the dirt nap. Read more »
While the financial crisis has wreaked havoc on the lives, careers and bank accounts of many, it’s actually been pretty sweet for former Goldman executive Peter Kraus. After leaving Goldman in March 2008 he collected $25 million for a few months of work at Merrill Lynch and then took his current job as chairman and CEO of AllianceBernstein. He also bought a five-bedroom apartment at 720 Park Avenue for $37 million and by all accounts seems to be having a pretty good time. Still though, there’s one thing that likely plagues him. Not the public flogging he took for an eight-figure paycheck around the time the economy was having its ass torn out but something so much worse. His rejection by 2008 Banker Of The Year, Ken Lewis.
In FT reporter Greg Farrell’s new book, Crash Of The Titans, he writes that “one thing was clear to Lewis”– that “the ‘Goldman Guys’– Thain, Kraus and Montag– had been in the process of taking over Merrill Lynch when he struck the deal to buy the Wall Street bank [and] that Peter Kraus would not fit into the organization.” Why didn’t K-L like Pedro? Specifically, in one particular meeting, Kraus “turned himself into the center of attention in the conference room, talking nonstop and continually flashing his bright green BlackBerry,” and in general? Ken Lewis hated Peter Kraus because he’s fabulous. Read more »
When Brian Moynihan took over as CEO of Bank of America, i.e. the job no one wanted, he knew he wouldn’t have the prestige or money associated with running Goldman Sachs, or the groupies that come with heading up JPMorgan. But at the time, he probably figured it’d at least be better than being the CEO of Citigroup. Sure, he’d have to clean Ken Lewis’s vomit stains out of the rug and spend a bunch of late nights making this thing work, but odd are he didn’t anticipate every waking hour being a scene out of torture movie, like it is these days given the whole mortgage mess gift Lewis and Angelo Mozilo left for him as a surprise. An Irish Rock, however, ’til now he hasn’t shown many signs of cracking. Today, feeling like he was in the company of friends at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Banking and Financial Services Conference, Bri-Moy unloaded about how much this job sucks.
“There’s a lot of people out there with a lot of thoughts about how we should solve this, but at the end of the day, we’ll pay for the things that Countrywide did,” said Moynihan. “It’s a day-to-day, hand-to-hand combat.”
As we care about the guy and just want to make sure everyone’s prepared with a shoulder to cry on, let’s just guesstimate now, so we can be ready, how long before Moynihan: Read more »
Bank of America was a prettay prettay prettay good time when it was being run by Ken Lewis. The Strawberry Hill Boone’s Farm flowed freely and as a result of the boozing, you could buy any company you wanted, whether it was a ticking time bomb or made any sense strategically. It didn’t matter! You didn’t even have to justify it to anyone because everybody, the CEO most importantly, was there to party. “Who give a crap, just have fun,” the motto went. Unfortunately, now that Lewis is gone, God rest is soul, Brian Moynihan is taking a a slightly different, more sober approach to the business. Read more »
“I had no idea what I was signing,” Tam Doan says of his work for Bank of America’s pre-sale foreclosure department in Southern California. “Either you were in or you were out.” Unlike his job at Countrywide, which he described as orderly, Doan said Bank of America’s foreclosure operations were chaotic and stressful. There weren’t enough people to do the job and they didn’t receive the training needed to do it properly. “With the volume coming in, we were getting inundated,” he said, noting his workday often lasted from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We were signing documents right and left.” He spent so many hours writing his name that his signature morphed into a series of four circles overlapping one another…”I shudder to think how many foreclosure documents have my name on it,” he said. [CNN Money]
Okay, here’s what they’ve got so far, tell us what you think. Read more »