Illustration by Michael Witte

Illustration by Michael Witte

Head of the Herd

John Thiel, head of Merrill Lynch’s ‘thundering herd’ of advisors, on Wall Street’s reputation, advisor productivity, and why the wirehouse model of wealth management is here to stay. It’s been five years since the financial crisis. Where do you think the financial services industry stands today?

John Thiel: I think we’re more appropriately focused on client outcomes instead of just benchmarks. We have more work to do, but I think it’s been a healthy reminder for everybody—for us, the industry, for clients—that chasing returns without recognizing and managing the risks associated with ge

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