We all could use a little help. Help, and the “importance of culture at this organization,” are what rising Wall Street star Sallie Krawcheck spoke of on October 5th at her first press conference as president of Global Wealth Management & Investment Management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is back, and they are trotting out the bull to prove it.
Bank of America is staking $20 million–in the fourth quarter alone–on its re-introduction of the Merrill Lynch brand, with a new ad campaign aimed at “affluent” investors–read as $250,000 and up–and high-net-worth investors. Merrill Lynch also has ultra-high-net-worth investors at the Private Bank and Investment Group and, of course, Bank of America owns U.S. Trust–and both entities serve ultra-high-net-worth and wealthy family clients.
Krawcheck is back in the spotlight after taking just under a year off when she left Citi in September 2008. She had been CEO and chairman of Citi Global Wealth Management.
The timing of that leave may mean that Krawcheck is fortuitously unencumbered by association with a Wall Street firm during the worst part of the economic and markets crisis–something that may help down the road as the bank considers departing CEO Ken Lewis’s replacement.
Krawcheck wouldn’t comment on that, but she’s reportedly on the short list of nominees to fill that post. Whether she ultimately lands in the CEO seat or not, Krawcheck will have her hands full with nearly 15,000 reps at Merrill Global Wealth Management, the private bank, U.S Trust and the investment management arm of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The essence of the new Merrill lynch is an emphasis, says Krawcheck, on “one-to-one relationships” with clients, “putting clients first,” delivering “personalized advice” that’s “in their best interests.” All of this boils down to a relationship with clients of “advocacy and trust,” she emphasized.