Merrill lynch Brand gone within a year?

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Jul 9, 2010 8:26 pm

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24/7 Wall St. has created a new list of brands that may disappear, which includes Readers Digest, Kia Motors, Dollar Thrifty (NYSE: DTG - News), Zale (NYSE: ZLC - News), Blockbuster (BLOKA.PK - News), T-Mobile, BP Plc (NYSE: BP - News), RadioShack (NYSE: RSH - News), Merrill Lynch and Moody's (NYSE: MCO - News).

Merrill Lynch may have been acquired, but that will not keep it safe. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Banks and other large financial services firms have a habit of buying large retail brokerage houses and then changing their names. Shearson is gone. So is EF Hutton and Prudential. In most cases the parent company wants to put their own names on the door. That is very likely to happen to Merrill Lynch, which was at one point the largest full-service broker in the U.S. Merrill is now owned by Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC - News), and the buyout spawned a number of scandals that kept Merrill's name in the paper for weeks and did a great deal to harm its name with customers. Bank of America will follow a time honored tradition, and Merrill Lynch will become BofA Investment Management.

To read more on these brands and others, see the full article at 24/7 Wall St.

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Jul 10, 2010 11:19 am

I would imagine that there are WAY too many Merrill FA's that have been with the firm for many years.  Most of them have tremendous pride in the ML brand and culture, much of which has been diminished in the past few years.  These FA's are disgruntled enough... giving away the Merrill name would be the last straw for them to bolt.  

I think BAC management would be wise to realize this, which is why I think the name stays.

Jul 10, 2010 11:47 am

There is NO chance the Merrill name goes away.  The difference between NOW and THEN is that with most of the previous mergers, the acquirer felt that their name had as much or more cache' than the acquired.  Not so with BofA.  I think even they know that Merrill has much more presence than a bank name.

Jul 10, 2010 4:09 pm

Not when BoA sells them off in a couple years.

Jul 11, 2010 8:42 am

They will keep Merrill, but make it very high end.  Watch and see how the FINREG shakes out first!

Jul 11, 2010 11:04 pm

The Merrill brand is already gone.  There is still a sign on the doors, and a bunch of guys walking around with business cards.  Just like over at AIG and Fannie Mae.  But the world knows that Merrill would be deceased and in the ground, were it not for the taxpayers backstopping their stupidity.  Orange County, Enron's Nigerian barges, Stan O'Neal's $140 million severance, the City of New York, the bonus scandal, Thain's $35,000 toilet and $1.2 million office renovation, the auction rate securities, and being caught leaning the wrong way on billions of dollars of CDS's--it's amazing they have any clients left at all.

Jul 11, 2010 11:18 pm

I am afraid that them name will go the way of the rule of the same name.  Barney Frank will see to it.

Jul 12, 2010 7:56 am

[quote=Bodysurf]

The Merrill brand is already gone.  There is still a sign on the doors, and a bunch of guys walking around with business cards.  Just like over at AIG and Fannie Mae.  But the world knows that Merrill would be deceased and in the ground, were it not for the taxpayers backstopping their stupidity.  Orange County, Enron's Nigerian barges, Stan O'Neal's $140 million severance, the City of New York, the bonus scandal, Thain's $35,000 toilet and $1.2 million office renovation, the auction rate securities, and being caught leaning the wrong way on billions of dollars of CDS's--it's amazing they have any clients left at all.

[/quote]

And how is this "stupidity" any different than what was going on at any of the other major firms?  Not to excuse any of this behavior, but to say ML is gone because of those scandals would be a bit off.  It's certainly damaged the reputation, but no more than any of the other firms who were involved in the same or similar stuff.  

BTW, a 'comode' is not a toilet.  It's a chest of drawers.  

Jul 12, 2010 9:18 am

I think everyone is over-analyzing the Merrill thing.  The name is NOT going away, although there is probably a better than 50% chance that BofA sells them within 5 years for a hefty gain and lots of new banking clients. 

Jul 12, 2010 11:32 am

Knowing the difference between a commode and a toilet is imperative.  Would not want to explain to your boss why you did your business in his new $35,000 chest of drawers.

Jul 12, 2010 2:32 pm

[quote=neloza]

Knowing the difference between a commode and a toilet is imperative.  Would not want to explain to your boss why you did your business in his new $35,000 chest of drawers.

[/quote]

Amen!

Jul 12, 2010 9:35 pm

The question wasn't whether or not Merrill would be gone, but whether the "brand" would be.  They'll still be in business, just like AOL and K-Mart are still in business.  But the brand is dead

Jul 13, 2010 3:19 pm

The Trust in ML is gone.

About time the public figures that out!

Look what it cost there clients over the years. They problem is crap firms like that give all of us a bad rep!   

Now it will be a matter of time before the public finally figures out how they are getting  scewed by the big banks.  

Jul 16, 2010 12:18 am

I agree the brand is dead.  However, you would never know it if you walked through the halls of a Merrill Lynch complex.  I think the veteran brokers are still living in the 2003-2007 period.  Every FA office is stuffed with bull memorabilia (ceramic ones, wooden ones, on posters, on golf balls).  It's like I work at a farm.

I think Bank of America will keep the name because there is too much pride in the Merrill name by the existing herd.

Jul 16, 2010 9:31 am

[quote=Greenbacks2]

The Trust in ML is gone.

About time the public figures that out!

Look what it cost there clients over the years. They problem is crap firms like that give all of us a bad rep!   

Now it will be a matter of time before the public finally figures out how they are getting  scewed by the big banks.  

[/quote]

Isn't that a contradiction?  Aren't you suggesting that the public's trust in ML is gone?  If that's the case, what is there to figure out?

I still think the brand will survive and eventually thrive again (and probably separate from BAC).  It will just take a little time to sweep all this behind them.  They are no worse than any other wire.  You think UBS has a better reputation?  How about AGE/Wachovia/WFA? 

Jul 20, 2010 11:52 pm

[quote=Bodysurf]

The Merrill brand is already gone.  There is still a sign on the doors, and a bunch of guys walking around with business cards.  Just like over at AIG and Fannie Mae.  But the world knows that Merrill would be deceased and in the ground, were it not for the taxpayers backstopping their stupidity.  Orange County, Enron's Nigerian barges, Stan O'Neal's $140 million severance, the City of New York, the bonus scandal, Thain's $35,000 toilet and $1.2 million office renovation, the auction rate securities, and being caught leaning the wrong way on billions of dollars of CDS's--it's amazing they have any clients left at all.

[/quote]HA HA HA, you underestimate them way too much. I used to work there, and if you think a few scandals are going to run their clients away, then you are believing exactly what they want you to. If they didn't have the staying power  that they do, they would have already been gone....

Jul 22, 2010 5:56 pm

[quote=B24]

[quote=Greenbacks2]

The Trust in ML is gone.

About time the public figures that out!

Look what it cost there clients over the years. They problem is crap firms like that give all of us a bad rep!   

Now it will be a matter of time before the public finally figures out how they are getting  scewed by the big banks.  

[/quote]

Isn't that a contradiction?  Aren't you suggesting that the public's trust in ML is gone?  If that's the case, what is there to figure out?

I still think the brand will survive and eventually thrive again (and probably separate from BAC).  It will just take a little time to sweep all this behind them.  They are no worse than any other wire.  You think UBS has a better reputation?  How about AGE/Wachovia/WFA? 

[/quote]

B,   I would agree all the wires have ruined there reputaion with the public.

Jul 24, 2010 10:52 pm

Jul 25, 2010 10:57 am

ML will continue to be number 1 - it is human nature to relish in the destruction of others. 

Jul 25, 2010 1:35 pm

Number one at what?