Merrill Lynch (officially Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith IncorporatedMerrill Lynch (officially Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated), formerly known as Merrill Lynch, is an American wealth management and investment management division of Bank of America. Together with BofA Securities, the investment banking division, the two companies carry out premier brokerage and brokerage operations.
The company is headquartered in New York and once occupied all 34 floors of 250 Vesey Street, part of the Brookfield Place complex in Manhattan. A financial advisor at Merrill Lynch is one of 14,000 employees, and the firm manages 2.3 trillion dollars in client assets. They also operate the electronic trading platform Merrill Edge, made by the company. Ml Benefits is managed by Merrill lynch.
The company used to be publicly owned and listed on the New York Stock Exchange before it was acquired by private equity firms in 2009. When the financial crisis of 2007–2008 had reached its peak during the height of October 2008, Merrill Lynch & Co. announced that it would be acquired by Bank of America. Lehman Brothers was released from bankruptcy the same weekend Merrill Lynch & Co. announced this acquisition.
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. was acquired by Bank of America Corporation in January 2009 and merged with Bank of America Corporation in October 2013, with some Bank of America subsidiaries continuing as Merrill Lynch, including Merrill Lynch brokerage Pierce, Fenner & Smith. In 2019, Bank of America renamed the entity “Merrill”.
Merrill Lynch became famous thanks to the strength of its network of financial advisers, sometimes called the “Thunderherd”, which allowed it to place the securities to which it directly underwrote. On the other hand, many established Wall Street firms, such as Morgan Stanley, rely on independent brokerage firms to underwrite bonds that are placed by them. It was once known as a “Catholic” Wall Street firm and most of its executives were Irish Catholics.