Merrill cleaning house

So after you let them spend $1.3B on a late to game acquisition

At Merrill, Mr. Kim and his team had overseen the $1.3 billion acquisition of First Franklin Corp., which specialized in subprime mortgages extended to the least creditworthy borrowers. Merrill has become a top underwriter of such mortgage-backed securities because of that deal, which was completed in January.

and I am sure give them their 2006 bonus and after they have found other jobs and you have lost $4B (!) of shareholder's money, then, you remember to fire them.

Merrill Lynch & Co., which is expected to join other investment banks reporting steep losses on assets linked to risky subprime mortgages later this month, yesterday began a housecleaning of executives who have left the firm with an outsize subprime exposure.

In making the moves, Merrill didn't disclose the extent of any likely write-downs. But the size of those losses may equal or exceed a $4 billion estimate made by one analyst last week, according to people on Wall Street. That could erase most or all of the firm's quarterly profit and leave Merrill the hardest hit of any U.S. securities firm.

Merrill ousted its global head of fixed income, Osman Semerci, as well as his deputy, Dale Lattanzio, co-head of fixed income for the Americas, and also showed the door to their former boss, Dow Kim, the former co-head of institutional securities.

Mr. Kim had announced plans to resign in May on an amicable basis, with plans to start his own hedge fund in which Merrill would invest. But Merrill no longer plans to make such an investment, and Mr. Kim left the firm abruptly this week, according to people familiar with the firm. Messrs. Semerci and Lattanzio didn't return calls, and a spokesman for Mr. Kim said he has been focused since May on his new hedge-fund group, Diamond Lake Investment Group.

From WSJ

Posted on October 4, 2007 and filed under Finance.