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The very second that John Thiel mentioned the need to ‘cooperate’ with the fiduciary standard movement and bow to regulators Merrill Lynch advisors began emailing us…and frankly, most of them are losing their sh**. The emails are apoplectic in nature and will only add to the pressure that Thiel has been feeling internally. BofA executives have wanted him gone for some time and if advisors turn on him whatever goodwill he engendered from that group to keep him around will be all but lost. We can only hope that somehow all of this has some sort of end game that makes sense, because it sure doesn’t look like it. Many of the advisors that wrote in to us believe this is another small basis point move in a larger campaign to turn BofA/Merrill into JPMorgan – and an ultimate move out of the protocol. Here are several emails – **and a quick warning regarding the language contained in these emails:

One Merrill advisor stopped short of personal attacks, “what the fu** is this guy doing? Holy sh**!! It isn’t bad enough that we are fighting our own firm to keep compliance and legal out of our sh** – but now this guy says that Merrill is open to the discussion somehow. How many ways can we take it in the a** at this place. The regrets that I have for staying at the place creates a list so long that my computer would blow the fu** up typing all of them. This place is now run by gutless idiots who cower at the idea that a small portion of the industry should set the agenda. Grow a pair.”

Another advisor made it short but not so sweet, “Fu** that guy. Look up “douchebag corporate robot” and you will get a picture of Thiel.”

A branch manager who spent all day trying to calm down advisors in his office, “what really needs to stop is the constant self inflicted punches to the face. Is that really so hard?? I look at a place like UBS that is never in the headlines. Their executives are rarely dialing up reporters or showing up at conferences to make dumb comments. Not rocket science to just keep your mouth shut for awhile. That certainly would be better than what we got yesterday.”

A complex director tried to dress up Thiel’s comments, “while I don’t understand what he is doing at a small time conference like that in the first place…but if you have to be there and if you are asked about where Merrill might be headed it is hard to blame him for trying to strike a conciliatory chord. I, too, think the rhetoric needs to be dialed back bit. I’m sure that is ultimately what he was trying to get accomplished.”

A final quote from an advisor in New Jersey, “Someone needs to step into John’s office and tell him to shut the fu** up and walk out. Stop talking and we will all be better off.”

Merrill advisors have a right to be pissed. They’ve been taking body blows for 5 years from BofA, rivals at Morgan Stanley and UBS, the press and their own leadership (not to mention legal and compliance). They are tired of it. One last quote from an insider at Merrill said the following regarding Thiel, “if he makes it another six months I would be shocked…and if he does, it is because he is simply a puppet for Moynihan and the boys.”

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