09 Mar Kaye/Bassman’s Tim White in Investment News Article, “Merrill Lynch Losing Top Advisors”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Kaye/Bassman’s Tim White in Investment News Article, “Merrill Lynch Losing Top Advisors“
Dallas, Texas, 3/9/2012:
In early summer, before layoffs began sweeping across Wall Street, billboard-sized photos of employees were plastered on the walls, pillars and elevator banks of Credit Suisse Group AG’s offices in the United States and abroad.
The museum-quality prints, depicting workers from administrative assistants to senior executives, were emblazoned with motivational words like “Proactive” and “Partner.” By mid-July, however, the photos disappeared and the Swiss banking giant began laying off 2,000 employees.
Security guards prevented employees from taking cell-phone pictures as the posters were stripped away, according to one employee who was present.
“It sent an entirely wrong message,” said an employee, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Management literally threw away that kind of money on something so trivial, while planning to cut thousands of jobs.”
A bank spokeswoman declined to comment on the internal campaign or the employee’s comments.
Credit Suisse’s timing illustrates the unanticipated dangers of rampant job-cutting, which tend to run in cycles on Wall Street. Employee morale often plummets at a time when survivors are asked to pick up more responsibility and customer relations can suffer as service and relationships deteriorate.
What’s more, layoffs inartfully constructed can come across to shareholders as Band-Aid solutions that at best temporarily cut expenses and at worst pare away reserves of talented people.
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“They finished cutting the fat and now they’re into the muscle and bone,” said Tim White, a managing partner who specializes in wealth management at the recruiting firm Kaye/Bassman International in Dallas.
Working under a recent mandate not to use certain alternative investments or to sign on new public-pension-fund clients, John Beirne Jr., a 33-year veteran of Merrill Lynch who managed upwards of $2 billion in assets, quit last month to strike out on his own. For a variety of reasons, many top Merrill Lynch financial advisers are coming to the same conclusion. Seven of the 10 largest adviser moves tracked by InvestmentNews over the past three months have involved Bank of America Merrill Lynch advisers