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Unravelling the institutional mystery

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers’ approach to the US institutional market can best be described as nascent. Until two months ago, there wasn’t even anyone charged with the responsibility for overseeing, developing or even simply describing Merrill’s US institutional business.

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers' approach to the US institutional market can best be described as nascent. Until two months ago, there wasn't even anyone charged with the responsibility for overseeing, developing or even simply describing Merrill's US institutional business.


In March MLIM president Jeff Peek put Frank Salerno in charge. He's been at Merrill since mid-1999, when he brought over a big chunk of Bankers Trust's successful quantitative analysis team.


The message can still sound a bit disjointed. But Salerno, whose official title is chief operating officer of US institutional business, is upbeat about the firm's capabilities. "One of the best-kept secrets in US asset management is just how big Merrill is in institutional business," he says. "We're said to be a retail only firm, but we have about $100 billion in assets under management [$99.7 billion, actually]. That's about one-third of the total amount of our US assets, yet very few know about it, including the consultants."


If you ask Peek himself, he'll tell you that this is the one area where Merrill still has something missing. "If there's one product we lack now, it's a good presence in US institutional equities.




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