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下载Merrill’s Peril 美林证券的危机
Congress today took aim at Merrill Lynch and its relationship with Enron. Investigators say Merrill replaced one of its analysts because he was too negative on Enron. That analyst told MONNEYLING today that there was always pressure to be positive toward investment banking clients of any kind. Greg Clarkin has our story.
Greg Clarkin, CNN Financial Correspondent
Meet Merrilll Lynch’s newest worst nightmare, long-time energy analyst John Olson. He was negative on Enron during its boom days. Merrill’s bankers complained saying he was costing them big bucks in banking fees. Shortly after, Olson was gone.
On Capitol Hill, Merrill officials denied Olson was let go because of his negative stand on Enron, saying he was cut as part of a downsizing. But Olson said everyone knew his negative view on Enron was hurting Merrill’s banking business. Enron’s CEO sent that message.
At one point, Ken Lay mentioned to me very clearly sending a message, he said we are for our friends and our friends have strong buy recommendations.
The series of events surrounding Olson’s departure from Merrill are compelling. July 1997: Olson cuts his rating on Enron to neutral. The following April, Merrill bankers e-mail Merrill’s president, complaining about being shut out of an Enron stock offering. Merrill banker Skyleer Tilney says John has not beben a real supporter of the company. He says Enron wants to send a message about “ho viscerally its senior management feels about our research effort.” Four months later, Olson is gone. Five months after that, in another e-mail to Merrill’s president, the bankers tell him his responsive message was appreciated by Enron, and any animosity in that regard seems to have dissipated. Olson maintained his negative stand on Enron during the period, and says he was never contacted by Merrill executives or bankers. But he did feel the pressure nonetheless.
There was always the pressure to be positive toward investment banking clients. And that was, I think, implicit in the organization at the time. There was big bull market and everybody was trying to do their thing.
And part of that thing meant big banking fees. In that last e-mail to Merrill’s president, the bankers say they’re back in the good graces of Enron, and that Enron has awarded them two new pieces of business, business that could bring Merrill fees of up to $50 million.