It's all fun and games.
It appears that former Merrill Lynch employees (both over at the investment bank and the wealth management business) are miffed that their bonuses are likely to be lower this year-end because of Bank of America's general mortgage and other legal problems (most of which have nothing to do with them).
According to Gasparino's sources, the early indications are that average bonuses over in fixed income will be 60% down, while equities are likely to see their pot shrunk by 40%. Variable pay for wealth management personnel could be as much as 17% lower than last year. Now some of this will be down to poorer performances in the units themselves this year, but Merrill staff are said to be 'fuming', as they feel that they are paying with their bonuses for the sins of others. In other words, they want to be paid out based on the performance of their own units, rather than the bank as a whole.
One banker told Here Is The City: 'There is generally no love lost between the old Bank of America personnel and former Merrill Lynch staff, and bonuses have been a cause of friction from the very off. Merrill staff never really got over losing their independence, and most would give their right arm for the chance to get it back. They consider Bank of America to be highly bureaucratic and rigid, and resent it.
'The old BofA staff, on the otherhand, feel that Merrill employees should simply be grateful that they are still around to pick up any bonuses at all. After all, Merrill would have probably gone the way of Lehman Brothers in 2008 if it hadn't have been for Ken Lewis and Bank of America.
'It's a culture clash of the first order, and despite the best efforts of senior leaders to resolve the conflict, it will likely always remain. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch people just look at life from a totally different perspective'.