Merrill Lynch Turns 100 - 5 Core Principles That Led It This Far

On January 6 Merrill Lynch will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. Former Chairman of Merrill Lynch International and son of one of ML's founders, Winthrop H. Smith Jr. reflects on its colorful history.
January 02, 2014

Respect for Individuals


If you're going to be effective in developing good client relationships, a firm has to have people who are happy and comfortable, and have respect for everybody working there.

"Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and let somebody go for various reasons, but you always do it to preserve dignity and never throw anyone down flight of stairs," explains Smith. Very often, the tone of the company starts at the top. If the CEO is emphatic and not mean spirited it sets the culture.

"When my father passed away the partners created the Winthrop H Smith Memorial Foundation to help employees in need who, at no fault of their own, came across difficult situation (health, financial). It's a small example of showing the company its partners cared for all employees."

The first history of Merrill Lynch, Catching Lightning in a Bottle: How Merrill Lynch Revolutionized the Financial World, by Win Smith can be purchased here.

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Winthrop H. Smith (1893SMQ-8211-SMQ1961)

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