Merrill Lynch senses an upturn

July 2, 2009 at 5:02 PM
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NEW YORK, July 2 (UPI) -- The head of New York investment firm Merrill Lynch's global wealth management said the company is ready to break out of the doldrums.

Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis called the division the "crown jewel" in the acquisition of Merrill Lynch in January, the Charlotte, N.C., Observer reported Thursday.

Rising losses at Merrill Lynch prompted a $20 billion U.S. government bailout after the deal was made. Lewis has said he considered backing away from the deal, but was pressured to see it through by U.S. regulators.

At the global wealth management unit, "people are really starting to move forward here," said Dan Sontag, the division's leader.

"I see my group not wanting to talk about the rear view mirror as much," he said, referring to the controversial deal.

More than 2,000 brokers lost their jobs after the merger, but Sontag said the division is hiring trainees and clients are exploring new investment opportunities.

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