Bank of America will drop the Merrill Lynch name from its trading and investment banking outfits, according to reports.
The banking giant, which bought the longstanding Wall Street firm during the financial crisis in 2008, now plans to rebrand most of its wealth-management business as just Merrill.
The change will effectively end the Merrill Lynch name’s long history on Wall Street, as it was one of the few to survive the financial crisis and continue on.
The move shows that Bank of America is finally moving past the crisis and the problems it wrought, and focusing on renaming some of its acquired business, including the U.S. Trust brand, which will become the Bank of America Private Bank.
“We are continuing to unify the company, continuing down the road we started on a decade ago,” CEO Brian Moynihan said.
Merrill Lynch was founded in 1914 by Charles Merrill, who was joined by Edmund Lynch. The firm grew in size and reputation, but in the 2000s became mired in the subprime mortgage crisis and was sold in a fire sale.
When Bank of America bought the ailing firm, it helped the bank become a large player in the investment banking and wealth management fields. The discussion to lose the name has been circulating since the start of the merger.
The investment bank, the trading arm and the corporate client facing unit have been going by the name Bank of America Merrill Lynch. With the rebranding, the corporate client unit will be called Bank of America and the investment and trading arms will now go by BofA Securities.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, which is the biggest sector of the bank’s wealth business, is going to be known as simply Merrill, and the firm’s iconic bull logo will remain.
Moynihan said the decision to keep part of the Merrill name was “obvious,” because “in the wealth-management business, it’s the No. 1 brand there is.”