Former Merrill V.P. Now Runs Ameritrade. No TRO--Only Best Wishes

When former Merrill executive Joseph Moglia was named as the new CEO of Ameritrade in March, he was given a “best wishes” send-off within Merrill’s e-mail and broadcast systems. But Moglia apparently left Merrill without another parting tradition--a temporary restraining order. “How ironic,” says a Merrill broker in the Southeast. “I find it hypocritical. If I leave, I get hit with a TRO [from taking

When former Merrill executive Joseph Moglia was named as the new CEO of Ameritrade in March, he was given a “best wishes” send-off within Merrill’s e-mail and broadcast systems. But Moglia apparently left Merrill without another parting tradition--a temporary restraining order.

“How ironic,” says a Merrill broker in the Southeast. “I find it hypocritical. If I leave, I get hit with a TRO [from taking customers and trade secrets]. He’s given best wishes. That really sticks in my craw, and I’m not the only one that feels that way.”

Ameritrade is a discount online brokerage firm based in Omaha, Neb. However, Moglia, a former senior vice president in Merrill’s retail unit, did not work for the firm’s online endeavor, ML Direct, according to a Merrill spokesperson. Moglia’s most recent duties at Merrill included coordinating the firm’s research with “best products available” inside and outside of the firm, according to the spokesperson. In his 17 years at the firm, Moglia headed Merrill’s global fixed institutional sales and the firm’s municipal division.

Nevertheless, “There is definitely a double standard and it is outrageous,” says the rep. “How many trade secrets did he take with him? I would imagine it would be fairly significant. He knows what we were doing.”

Messages left at Moglia’s office at Ameritrade in Omaha, Neb., were not returned.

Dow Jones Newswire reported May 14 that Moglia received a signing bonus of $1.3 million from Ameritrade, on top of an annual salary of $600,000, plus annual bonuses up to $900,000 and $15.55 million in deferred compensation. The figures were released as part of Ameritrade’s 10-Q filing with the SEC.

Salomon Smith Barney analyst Matthew Vetto told the Washington Post that Moglia’s hiring enhances Ameritrade’s reputation and “bolsters the outsider’s view of the company.”

Editor's note: For any comments regarding this article, or to suggest a story idea for RR Online or Registered Representative magazine, contact Editor in Chief Dan Jamieson at [email protected], Online Editor Rick Weinberg at [email protected], Online Managing Editor Cheryl Cooper at [email protected] or Senior Editor Michael Hayes at [email protected]

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