Merrill Lynch FX: In and out at Merrill
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Merrill Lynch FX: In and out at Merrill

The latest bout of blood-letting at the bank may only tarnish its reputation further.

The word on the street is that Merrill Lynch’s foreign exchange business posted record results in 2007. However, that appears not to have been sufficient to stop its revolving door from spinning. Uncertainty and paranoia are once again the dominant themes at the troubled bank.

Harry Culham, who had been Merrill Lynch’s co-head of global currencies

Harry Culham: off again

The highest-profile victim is Harry Culham, who had been the bank’s co-head of global currencies. Culham was recruited as the latest in a long line of global heads of FX as recently as January 2007. But almost from his first day, Culham, who took a team with him to Merrill from Dresdner Kleinwort, is said to have found himself involved in political battles with David Gu, the bank’s global head of rates and currencies, which he ultimately appears to have lost. The official word from Merrill is that the bank is flattening out its management structure.

Culham should have been under no illusions about what he was letting himself in for, as he had done a previous stint at Merrill, before leaving in early 2002. However, even though Merrill has a long history of chopping and changing its FX team – few of its global heads of FX over the past decade have ever survived more than a couple of years in the job – his departure still appears to have come as a surprise to others in the market.

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