Merrill Lynch, Wall Street's biggest money manager, with $478 billion of assets, is charging clients lower prices than No. 2 Morgan Stanley and posting higher returns, as Chief Investment Officer Robert Doll tries to transform mutual funds into the company's fastest-growing business, Bloomberg News reports.
Money management was New York-based Merrill's only major unit to report higher earnings and revenue in the third quarter, in contrast to sales and trading, retail brokerage, and investment banking.
However, its improved performance was not enough to prevent the withdrawal of $854 million from Merrill's U.S. stock and bond funds in the first nine months of 2004. Investors preferred independent and better-performing managers like Fidelity and Vanguard, according to Financial Research Corp. Fidelity has attracted $21 billion this year, and Vanguard, the industry's second-biggest company, has taken in $47 billion, FRC said.