Hating ML?

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Jul 20, 2006 12:33 pm

I know there have been a ton of topics on this forum regarding all of the wirehouses. I am simply wondering why so many people seem to down ML. What really is so bad about them? Why would many of you deter someone from wanting to build a career there?  Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks

Jul 20, 2006 1:37 pm

I haven't seen much ML hating around here, except maybe a little from the independent guys.....but that's kinda expected since they are the types who operate better solo anyway and ML is probably one of the more 'strict' firms as far as fitting in with their culture and processes.


ML is the leader in this business (retail brokerage) bar none and a great place to build a career if their approach fits you.

Jul 20, 2006 3:39 pm
dude:

I haven't seen much ML hating around here, except maybe a little from the independent guys.....but that's kinda expected since they are the types who operate better solo anyway and ML is probably one of the more 'strict' firms as far as fitting in with their culture and processes.


ML is the leader in this business (retail brokerage) bar none and a great place to build a career if their approach fits you.



I don't think there's been much 'hating' at all.  Maybe some poking fun since the culture there is a little IBM-ish.   It's a good firm with a long solid history and they have some good tools for their advisors.  It's simply not for me.

Jul 20, 2006 3:58 pm

Thanks for the comments guys. I am guess I am wondering what about the culture there makes it seem "stuffy" for lack of a better word. My understanding is that no one keeps tabs on your day to day activities, you are not pressured to sell propietary products, the systems are top-notch, etc.


I came from a bank enviornment and the culture there is about kissing the right a$$ and bending over for everybody so you can hopefully get some business.


What would make someone leave ML and go independent? The payout? owning your book of business? etc

Jul 20, 2006 4:31 pm

They like to hire former miltary, They tend to fit in their from what I understand. I interviewed with them at one of their cattle calls one time. Their presentations was designed to run you out the door.

Jul 20, 2006 7:25 pm

I think I'm gonna make the jump to ML in the next 6 months. They seem to have a culture of success and really good reputation.

Jul 20, 2006 8:00 pm

Merrill is a fine firm that allows flexibility, product, tools, and
support.  It is also a firm that expects a great deal from their
advisors, $350,000 content producers using A, B, and C share mutual
funds and the occasional bond portfolio may find it uncomrortable at
times.  The average production well exceeds $700k now, and they
want that to go up, all the while adding advisors. 



Merrill is in everyones sights because they are the largest and most
well known....everyone knows who Merrill Lynch is, so it only makes
sense to print their name in the paper when possible (bad news
sells). 



As far as people out here bashing them I don't see it so much anymore,
but when it happens it seems to be from people who used to work
there...but no longer do... 

Jul 20, 2006 8:55 pm

Check out the articles on this site. One out of 5 stories is about them coughing up another huge chunk of change for a fine. They have a big name and great resources, but their priorities are making ridiculous amounts of money for upper mangement. Shareholders always come before brokers and clients. That clouds judgement and often results in fines that are in the news almost monthly.

Jul 21, 2006 1:10 am
peanutbroker:

Check out the articles on this site. One out of 5 stories is about them coughing up another huge chunk of change for a fine. They have a big name and great resources, but their priorities are making ridiculous amounts of money for upper mangement. Shareholders always come before brokers and clients. That clouds judgement and often results in fines that are in the news almost monthly.



So if you really believe that they put shareholders interests so far above that of the broker and client....I have to ask....do you own any of their stock?

Jul 21, 2006 8:10 am

CEO's and Sr. Management of publicly traded companies put the the
interest of the shareholders first.  If this comes as a surprise
to anyone on this forum I suggest an education or a new line of work to
those people.




Jul 21, 2006 8:22 am
peanutbroker:

Check out the articles on this site. One out of 5 stories is about them coughing up another huge chunk of change for a fine. They have a big name and great resources, but their priorities are making ridiculous amounts of money for upper mangement. Shareholders always come before brokers and clients. That clouds judgement and often results in fines that are in the news almost monthly.


That's true enough, peanut, but consider the times...in this regulatory environment every firm has a target painted on it's collcetive back.  Since Merrill is the 800 lb gorilla, I think we could expect it to be the biggest target of all.

Jul 21, 2006 4:00 pm

I reiterate Merrill Lynch is a great firm, not for everybody but definitely a great firm.....at the forefront of the industry, an innovator and certainly a risk taker.  It seems that most other big wirehouses wait for Merrill to try new business approaches before copying them (at least that was the case with Morgan when I worked there, and have heard this from friends at other wirehouses). 


I am a little too 'contraversial' to fit in there though it seems.  I would have never fit in in the military so there you go.


I heard a broker at my old office call Morgan Stanley the Coast Guard while Merrill Lynch was the Marines.

Jul 21, 2006 4:30 pm
dude:




I am a little too 'contraversial' to fit in there though it seems.  I would have never fit in in the military so there you go.



Merrill had a lot of military influence in its roots.  Today, the culture isn't very military (as compared to firms like EDS, Halliburton and SAIC).  They're big enough and old enough to define their own style.  They are still very structured and formal, but I wouldn't call them a miliatry-style operation.

Anyway, some people do better with structure (especially when it comes to back office).  Others want a less formal operation.  To each his own.

I've placed candidates at ML that you may consider 'controvercial'.  I can't go into specifics, but about a year ago they were targeted by a church group for having "gay friendly" employee benefits.

One of the reasons I like my job is that there are very few boring people.  Sometimes a little controvercy is a good thing.



dude:

I heard a broker at my old office call Morgan Stanley the Coast Guard while Merrill Lynch was the Marines.



I've heard the same thing many times.

So who are the Army, Navy and Air Force?



Jul 21, 2006 6:42 pm
JCadieux:
dude:



I am a little too 'contraversial' to fit in there though it seems.  I would have never fit in in the military so there you go.



Merrill had a lot of military influence in its roots.  Today, the culture isn't very military (as compared to firms like EDS, Halliburton and SAIC).  They're big enough and old enough to define their own style.  They are still very structured and formal, but I wouldn't call them a miliatry-style operation.

Anyway, some people do better with structure (especially when it comes to back office).  Others want a less formal operation.  To each his own.

I've placed candidates at ML that you may consider 'controvercial'.  I can't go into specifics, but about a year ago they were targeted by a church group for having "gay friendly" employee benefits.

One of the reasons I like my job is that there are very few boring people.  Sometimes a little controvercy is a good thing.


[quote=dude]


I heard a broker at my old office call Morgan Stanley the Coast Guard while Merrill Lynch was the Marines.


[/quote]

I've heard the same thing many times.

So who are the Army, Navy and Air Force?




Good insights, thanks........my recollection is that the Merrill Lynch in my old town had quite a few ex military, even the new hire's seemed to be fresh outta Uncle Sams' war machine. 

Jul 21, 2006 7:40 pm
peanutbroker:

Check out the articles on this site. One out of 5 stories is about them coughing up another huge chunk of change for a fine. They have a big name and great resources, but their priorities are making ridiculous amounts of money for upper mangement. Shareholders always come before brokers and clients. That clouds judgement and often results in fines that are in the news almost monthly.


Hey Peanut- so you figured out that Mother Merrill is a publicly traded firm.... well, that's one off your list... now how many does that leave...?



Jul 21, 2006 7:44 pm

 classic

Jul 22, 2006 10:29 am

Yep but 3 mil Hill and Alan Skrainka haven't done any damage to folks

portfolios, right?

Jul 24, 2006 7:32 am

I am a producer, not a manager.

**I think yes, Mgt everywhere (not just wall street) can be a dangerous

bunch.



**The Analysts...not so much, they just provide opinion, YOU must decide

how valid it it is.



** OF course everyone should consider this. An independent

clearing firm could soon go public, go bankrupt, or be purchased by a

public company, so the realities are something everyone in the business

should consider (switching firms can get old).



I just like all the stuff ML offers its advisors, thats all. I am

proud to be the producer I am at the firm I am with...just like many

Independent reps are proud of what they have done. I am smart

enough to play in this grown-up playground, pulling what is useful to

my clients and my team out, and staying away from those things that are

not. So I guess that is staying away from that small cup of Kool

Aid.



I am a little confused about yoru "informed people" comment. I

have always said I am a producer, always said I like ML, and have been

critical of the weak points in working at ML. What else is "My

Deal?"

Jul 24, 2006 12:14 pm

My bad, got you confused with a recruiter ....sorry.

Jul 24, 2006 12:52 pm

I love ML. I've gotten a lot of clients out of there. Here's the close: "How would you like to turn off those fees that they charge you EVERY quarter?"