David Komansky has found an innovative new way of getting analysts on his side - he insults them. The Merrill Lynch chief executive was taking questions from the floor after delivering his speech at the firm's second annual investor day conference in New York last month.
Komansky was in good spirits. His firm is riding high at present, with concerns about having a backward approach to online investing now firmly behind it. So he was in the mood for a bit of a joke.
Up stepped Amy Butte, the brokerage analyst for Bear Stearns, to ask her questions. Komansky decided to tease her. "He said something along the lines of 'that wasn't a particularly good question'," says a witness. "So Amy hit back immediately with: 'so when do you think we should downgrade you then?'"
Komansky's response was just as quick, and much more acerbic.