Saturday, January 24, 2009

Open Letter to Merrill Lynch

I sent this to the manager of the Columbus, Ohio sales distract of Merrill Lynch.

Mr. C –

I have been irritated and I have been astonished over the last 3 years at the gross mismanagement of Merrill at the corporate level. As a client and a shareholder it is beyond appalling. First Stan O’Neil and his questionable dealings, which put ML under further financial hardship and negatively affected the stock’s valuation. Then the sale of the ML to BOA, which I think could turn out to be a homerun or a total stinker, depending on how it is orchestrated and managed. Sadly the news of the last minute bonuses and $1.2 million worth of office furniture purchased by James Thain, I am inclined to believe that it will be a total stinker.

As a former employee, I am also willing to bet that none of the client associates or back office employees received a bonus much less new furniture this year. I would also imagine that they have been working under a wage and salary freeze over the last few years as well. Never mind that they come to work and put in their full day and then some – whilst the gentlemen of James Thain’s ilk bilk the company for all it is worth and then take the tax payers money as well. I ask you – how was his contribution so more significant than the young woman’s who answers your phone. Other than she has performed with integrity and dedication and he – well at best he exercised poor judgment and at worse he committed fraud or dare I say theft?

I think the world of my advisor – XX. She is responsive and knowledge and a real asset to your organization. SHE is the only reason my husband and I have stuck it out at Merrill Lynch for as long as we have. But at this moment I think I am done feeding this mad cow. I am done paying top dollar – so that the executives can waste, squander, lie and cheat. I am done supporting an organization which is lead by men and women so devoid of any moral or ethical fiber. Where is the sense of corporate honor and respectable citizenship. Honor used to be a time honored value and sadly now it would seem that it is every man for himself – grab, grab, grab and take, take, take.

I also know that you are but a small cog in a very big wheel and that this message is a touch self serving and my chance to vent – but I would like to think that you will share my thoughts and words with your boss and take this as far as you can. I am also publishing this letter to my blog and will happily post any substantive response that I receive.

I used to be proud to say that I used to work for Merrill Lynch, now I am trying to dream up ways to highlight my experience there and not name the firm, as it is form shame, that a once trusted and revered investment house is now synonymous with greed and greed and dishonor, mismanagement and other less than desirable business principals.

I am currently finishing my MBA and I know that it takes many to make an business function but in the end those at the top set the tone, but I also know that those at the bottom have the ability to rise up. If I were still employed at Merrill Lynch I would be running a revolution. Every employee deserves more than they got – the employees, middle management like yourself, your staff and your brokers. Your investment of time and energy and integrity is worth more than you have received and for that I am truly sorry – my hope is that perhaps my words can motivate you to be an agent of change. To share my words and perhaps add those of others who simply cannot take it any longer. But I also know money speaks louder than words and I am considering my options. Perhaps if enough people take their money out of Merrill Lynch then and only then will Wall Street and the big movers and shakers learn that bad business will in fact eventually hit you where it hurts. After all men like James Thain are only concerned with how they might benefit. When the well runs dry – perhaps then and only then will get what they deserve. Mud.

All the Best—

Thoughts from the edge...


I doubt it will do much but it is time - I am no longer willing to feed the bloated cow...

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