No More Bull
Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America in the fall of 2008. It’s probably too soon to tell what the new Merrill will be like but this past week Bank of America premiered the new Bank of America Merrill Lynch logo and much to my surprise, there’s no bull.
The penetration of the Merrill brand signified by the bull was so thorough that Merrill’s bull became a veritable symbol of the brokerage industry. To me, the bull was a symbol of strength; not in a head down charging at you kind of way but in the, “I’ll get you through the tough times” kind of way. In retrospect, I guess it’s no surprise that in the current economic environment, we’d lose the bull.
In addition to what’s going on in the market; mergers, consolidations and acquisitions in the financial industry are occurring more quickly than I can track.
A.G. Edwards became Wachovia which became Wells Fargo. The AG Edwards flame logo is gone and I’m sure that the Wachovia wave (I think it’s a wave) can’t be far behind.I must admit, I kind of like the Wells Fargo horse and carriage. It reminds me of the pioneer spirit that we could really use right about now.
Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley are now one company. I wasn’t able to find a flame or a wave or a carriage type logo for either of those firms; just words and they’ve apparently decided to keep all of them calling the new firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
All these changes have presented challenges to clients and employees alike and I’ll leave the opinions on whether or not all this consolidation is good for shareholders to the investment bankers and analysts. But I hope as clients all this transition reminds us to focus on the advisor relationship rather than the name on the building because clearly, the name on the building is subject to change.
As clients we need to focus less on “the bull” and more on the man or woman that we’ve entrusted with our finances. Don’t wait for them to call you they may be a little distracted by the realization that they work for a whole new firm even if they’re in the exact same office with all the same people.
Unless you were really fortunate or really lucky over the past few years, it’s time to get down to business.
No more bull.