A fool-hardy travesty is the word that came to mind when we read the headline that Bank of America was dropping Merrill Lynch branding. Our worst fears were allayed when we saw the move was only for the investment banking brand, not wealth management. Yet the change stills begs big questions and seems like a poor idea for B of A. Bank of America had little in the way of a strong investment banking brand before it bought Merrill Lynch, so the change is an interesting (read “odd”) one. It also makes one wonder if the Thundering Herd is safe from its own B of A rebrand in the near future.
FINSUM: We have to believe B of A will be smart enough not to drop the Merrill Lynch name from the wealth management business, but even the current move is an exceptionally poor idea. Members of our team worked in investment banking at “Bank of America Merrill Lynch” and can say from experience that the first part of that name didn’t carry much weight. To be honest, Bank of America would have done better to drop its own name!