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Source: Bank America



Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith turns 100 today. At least, she would have been, if she was a standalone entity, and not a government rescued TBTF entity, forced into a shot-gun wedding with Bank of America.

I have a warm place in my heart for the firm once referred to as Mother Merrill. As a young trader, I interviewed for an entry-level position. Right there on the main trading floor, a cavernous affair the size of several football fields in the downtown office. It was unlike any place I had ever been in before. I had plenty of friends who worked on desks there, and eventually came to know many folks in their research department. There was at one time a sense of camaraderie at Merrill, a real feeling that everyone was rowing in unison. In my experience, it was a unique place, with a sense of passion and purpose. And even though I never worked there, I was mentored by a number of traders who did. It was that sort of place.

The idea of democratizing finance for the middle class was novel. So too was the Cash Management Account (CMA), allowing brokerage customers to combine money market, check-writing and credit card all in one account. Win Smith, son of founding partner (yes, that “Smith”) details this history in Catching Lightning in a Bottle: How Merrill Lynch Revolutionized the Financial World.


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Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Digital Media, Investing, M&A

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

5 Responses to “Happy 100th Birthday, Mother Merrill. We Miss You”

  1. amadeus39 says:

    30 years ago as a novice investor with middle income salary and raising 3 young daughters I participated in ML’s democratizing plan for the middle class. When the relationship ended I felt I had been raped and pillaged by that sweet company. Low returns and high fees almost did me in. Never went back. Never will. The company, its leaders and employees, should be in jail..

  2. Crocodile Chuck says:

    100 years. Paging Stan ‘O Neal!!

  3. downhillracer says:

    So it seems Merrill ended up a ONE man company, I never read about a revolt by any long term employees (executives) or a war within the board of directors. Please explain why after 100 years of history and profit , it seems to me the company fell apart without a fight.

  4. delivat says:

    If MER couldn’t see their own demise written on the wall…They could never see how to create investor wealth either – RIP you got what you deserved