Merrill Lynch has decided to continue its 4-month-old Ask Merrill (www.askmerrill.com) Web site, which gives nonclients free access to Merrills research, but with an adjustment to the rules.
At the end of March, Merrill will place a 30-day limit on nonclient access to its research, says Frank Zammataro, the firms director and vice president for client technologies. To go beyond 30 days, a nonclient will have to establish a relationship with a Merrill Lynch financial consultant and obtain a special password from the consultant, he says. Prior to this change, nonclient users were only required to register before they were allowed access to the site.
We have had some very good success with the numbers, and very good anecdotal feedback from our FCs stating success [in establishing contacts with registrants], Zammataro says.
An e-mail sent to registrants on March 3 stated, We have received an enthusiastic response to our free trial, with over 130,000 people viewing more than one million reports during the four-month period.
But now Merrill is going to start looking at the actual conversion rates, Zammataro says, adding that the process usually takes about six months.
That same e-mail promised other new and exciting features in the months to come. The one new feature that has been revealed is the Merrill Lynch Global Investor Network, described as daily audio and video feeds from analysts, economists and fund managers on Merrill Lynch trading floors around the world.
A firm spokesperson says that the network will be launched on March 10, and will include nine categories of video reports, including a market watch, an international outlook, analyst highlights, and industry and mutual fund updates.