The era of wheatgrass and meditation may be coming to an end at Merrill Lynch.
Fox Business reports that Merrill’s brokerage chief, John Thiel, skipped an important dinner meeting on Tuesday night with top-producing financial advisers in Orlando, Fla. His actions came just days after the FOX Business Network was first to report Thiel's efforts to soften the once hard-driving culture of Merrill’s brokerage unit have begun to backfire, as advisers leave the firm in increased numbers, and clients start to bolt as well.
Known inside Merrill as the 'wellness initiative', Thiel has been advocating his employees embrace a New Age cultural lifestyle that includes meditation and drinking wheatgrass and cucumber juice during firm gatherings.
Thiel has also encouraged brokers to embrace a 'noble purpose' while selling stocks and bonds to their clients, take naps during the day and play bongo drums. Brokers were also forced to sit through seminars by Davidji, a self-described 'internationally recognized meditation expert' who studied at the Chopra Institute.
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