Wall Street: Merrill’s support wants help

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Happy hump day! Dan DeFrancesco checking in here. We've actually got an IPO today! (Remember what those were?)

Mobileye, an automated-driving company that is a spinoff of Intel, is set to hit the public markets today at $21 a share — a dollar above the top of its targeted range — with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley serving as the lead underwriters. 

On tap we've got bad news for banker bonuses (sorry!), a ranking of the top research analysts, and the most comprehensive story on crypto you'll probably ever read

But first, an uprising at Merrill Lynch. 


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A general view of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch building logo on January 28, 2019 in London, England.

1. The support wants support

There's another uprising on Wall Street.

Client associates at Merrill Lynch are fed up with what they feel is an overwhelming amount of work, a lack of WFH flexibility, and disappointing compensation, according to a new Insider report

For the unfamiliar, client associates (CAs) essentially do financial advisors' dirty work. From checking in with clients to scheduling meetings and opening and onboarding new accounts, CAs are a crucial, albeit largely unseen part of the firm.

And at Merrill Lynch, which oversees $2.7 trillion in assets, there is plenty of dirty work that falls to the 6,500 CAs. 

"In their rah-rah emails, it's like: 'Oh, you guys are really the ones who run the business!' But we're not treated that way, and we're not stupid," an associate who recently left the firm told Insider. "So those words mean nothing to us."

It's only natural to draw comparisons between the CAs and another behind-the-scenes group that recently felt dismissed and underappreciated: junior bankers.

Investment banking analysts voiced similar concerns over feeling burnt out and underpaid. The short-term result was a series of raises across the industry, but long-term changes didn't necessarily materialize

Whether Merrill's CAs can elicit a better, more sustainable, response to their queries remains to be seen. But it's important to remember that we're a long way away from the spring of 2021, when Wall Street was making money hand over fist. 

As the economy continues to barrel toward a recession, financial firms might be less receptive to the complaints of those unsung heroes, no matter how valid their complaints may be.

Click here to read more about why Merrill's support staff is so fed up.


In other news:

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam.

2. Bankers, please hold off on buying that Patek Philippe. Wall Street bonuses are expected to drop by as much as 22% from last year, Reuters reports

3. If you do one thing today, read this inspiring story about a Wall Street banker leading the evacuation of an Afghan colonel and his family. When Nick Calbos found a former ally was on the run from the Taliban, he snapped into action.

4. An Equinox sales manager emailed a racist, pornographic meme to colleagues to show "we are going to fuck the shit out of our [client] pipelines," a lawsuit alleges. (Equinox says it will "vigorously defend ourselves against any and all claims made in the filing that we believe are false or mischaracterize details.") Read more about the claims of a "misogynistic bro culture" at the luxury fitness chain.  

5. Meet the hottest new executive role your company might be hiring for. Companies are hiring "chief purpose officers" in an effort to combat employee burnout. Here's why that's a really bad idea

6. Elon Musk reportedly told his bankers the Twitter deal will close Friday. It seems like this whole whirlwind really will come to an end this week. Here's a quick rundown on everything that is at stake, in addition to our inside look at why the banks helping to finance deal are OK with taking a bath on it

7. The richest man in crypto came from humble beginnings, working at a gas station and as a cook at McDonald's as a teen. Now Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, is worth $30 billion and runs the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. Read more about his rise to power

8. Bloomberg's Matt Levine wrote about crypto in a way that only he could. In this odyssey, Levine examines everything you could possibly want to know about the space. Come for the four-part series, stay for the footnotes

9. Institutional Investor just announced its latest crop of top research analysts. And while lots of familiar firm names remain at the top, there are some interesting dark horses. Meanwhile, check out our own list of rising stars in equity research to get a preview of who might make the list eventually

10. You're never going to get as big as The Rock, but here's his diet and workout regime if you want to try. The "Black Adam" star eats up t0 6,000 calories a day and never skips leg day.  


Keep updated with the latest business news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief. Listen here.


Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London. 

 

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