Time was, if you were a successful broker on Wall Street, your company sent you on trips to mingle with other top producing brokers, at which the only planned activities included playing golf, getting drunk, and falling ass-backward into the pool. Then the financial crisis hit and suddenly firms couldn’t afford the bad press associated with a gaggle of their employees passing out naked on the ninth hole at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Well now they can! Read more »
BofA Employees Respond To Merrill Lynch Business Card Complaints With Graphic Images Of Flag-On-BullBy Bess Levin
Earlier this week, we learned that Bank of America has a number of very unhappy ex-Merrill Lynch brokers on it hands. Their beef? New business cards that feature a slightly smaller bull than in times past, an obvious affront, as they see it, to the Merrill brand. While no formal demands have been made, it’s clear that in order to be made happy, the former Mother Merrill employees will need to see the bull reinstated to its former size and glory. And, sure, an apology from Bank of America brass for the lack of respect would be nice. At this time, CEO Brian Moynihan is yet to make a formal statement regarding the redesigned cards, but rank-and-file BofA-ers, at least those with access to MS Paint, have sent a message that they are less than sympathetic. Read more »
As many of you will recall, back in 2008, then Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis agreed to buy Merrill Lynch. While it wasn’t a Countrywide-level disaster of an acquisition (i.e. a bomb that’s never stopped going off), it wasn’t Lewis’s best laid plan, which is why he actually tried to get out of the deal at the 11th hour, only to be told by former Fed Chair Hank Paulson that if he wanted to keep his legs, he’d go through with it. The merger didn’t sit right with a large contingent of Merrill brokers, but they chose to go along with it for the greater good. Still, they made a solemn swear to each other that they’d fight even the smallest perceived slight to their brand and five plus years after the deal went through, they’ve kept their word. Read more »
There are a lot of things in the financial industry that you could legitimately get upset about and so it seems sort of wasteful when people go around getting upset about the other things.1 Like: the too-big-to-fail banks have a lot of subsidiaries, which is bad for some reason. Complexity! Opacity! Subsidiaries. I dunno.2
Anyway one of the big ones is going away:
Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. lender, plans to merge its Merrill Lynch subsidiary into the parent company to reduce complexity and costs.
The move could happen as early as the fourth quarter and means Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America assumes all the investment bank’s obligations and debt, Merrill Lynch said in an Aug. 2 filing. Dissolving the legal entity also ends Merrill Lynch’s need to file separate regulatory disclosures.
It’s true! Read more »
Feel free to exchange exultations, insults and sour-grape rationalizations below. Read more »
Taking Job At Merrill Lynch, Not Decision To Turn Office Into Versailles, Biggest Regret Of John Thain’s LifeBy Bess Levin
Regrets? John Thain has one. “I wouldn’t have taken the Merrill job,” he said in an interview. “I think that’s probably the single biggest thing.” Mr. Thain’s comments are some of his sharpest yet about life as Merrill Lynch & Co.’s chairman and chief executive. He arrived at the securities firm’s headquarters in lower Manhattan in late 2007 as the financial crisis was brewing. Within a year, Merrill was forced into a shotgun marriage with Bank of America Corp. A few months later, Mr. Thain was out. “I regret having to sell Merrill Lynch to Bank of America,” he said. [WSJ]