Lawyers for Bank of America Corp and former Merrill Lynch & Co brokerage chief Robert McCann have reportedly been in talks to resolve his lawsuit accusing the bank of blocking him from taking a job with a rival, which some experts speculate is UBS.
Meanwhile, McCann spoke recently with Bloomberg about the brokerage business. “There’s too much talk about size and scale and not enough about the clients,” McCann says.
He believes there should be one and only one set of rules for all advisors, regardless of what type of broker-dealer or RIA arrangement they are in. Such a set of rules could help more investors “get back into the markets,” he said.
He see’s the brokerage field as a growth industry and one in which there’s room for retail operations and investment operations, operating within the same firm or as separate entities.
And he believes his former Merrill boss John Thain wasn’t perfect, but did the best he could on the job.
McCann earlier was reported to have “volunteered” to give up his 2008 bonus, after Thain met with Merrill Lynch’s board. This meeting came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal story that said Thain had lobbied the board for a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, which put a spotlight on the bonus process at Merrill.
Merrill, with the knowledge of Bank of America executives, paid its employees $3.6 billion in bonuses just before the deal closed, despite losing $27.6 billion in 2008. These bonuses are now the subject of intense political and legal attention.
McCann sued the largest U.S. bank that took over Merrill this August in order to lift a “non-competition” clause in various Merrill agreements and thus freeing him to take a job with a rival. Bank of America is arguing that McCann must stay put through January 2010.