Merrill Lynch: The Village People connection

September 15, 2008


Unearthed in today’s exhaustive Merrill Lynch coverage: According to the company’s website, Charles Merrill and Edmund Lynch made their fortuitous acquaintance at Manhattan’s 23rd St YMCA in 1907.

Charles E Merrill & Co. opened its doors in January 1914, and the company changed its name to Merrill, Lynch & Co a year later.

The lyrics of the Village People’s anthem, written in 1978, apply just as well to the 22-year-olds Merrill and Lynch as they do today, especially for some of the bank’s employees who seem certain to lose their jobs as Bank of America acquires the firm:

Young man, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be unhappy.

Young man, there’s a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.

The Merrill Lynch website also quotes an associate assessing the partners’ complementary strengths: “Merrill could imagine the possibilities; Lynch imagined what might go wrong in a malevolent world.”

The last few years — for the firm and most of Wall Street — could thus be summarized as too much Merrill, not enough Lynch.

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