It's different this time -- I promise. On Friday, Financial Times reported that Merrill Lynch
The fall of the copycats
Let's be fair to Merrill: Morgan Stanley
Why will it work this time? John Thain, who replaced O'Neal in December, is the first outsider to lead Merrill in the firm's history. And how could he not legitimately seek to imitate Goldman? Prior to joining Merrill, he spent his entire banking career there, eventually becoming president and chief operating officer.
Creating a leadership role on a geographical basis is meant to promote an integrated approach to the different businesses by breaking down barriers between M&A, capital markets, and wealth management -- one of the hallmarks of Goldman's approach to business.
Now's not the time to bet against Merrill
Thain is rebuilding Merrill into an organization in which the employees' interests are better aligned with those of the firm (this is something that Goldman does remarkably well). I wouldn't bet against him; he has a deep understanding of the industry and has already demonstrated his management aptitude by turning the New York Stock Exchange around (now NYSE Euronext