The acquisition took place after one of the worst weekends in Wall Street history. While the economic world was grasping for the ropes, after taking the sucker punch of the largest financial crises in several generations, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in an all-stock deal worth $50 billion.
Those who watch the stock market furiously debated the impact the banking giant would have when acquiring one of the oldest and largest investment firms in the world. Rick Meckler, who at the time was the chief investment officer at the firm of LibertyView Capital commented, “It could be a powerful fit.”
Over ten years later, as the economy has marched back, his words seem prophetic. Across the nation and here on the Space Coast, the experience and assets of the country’s second largest bank, coupled with the financial management services of the firm, whose iconic Bull logo is synonymous with Wall Street, has confirmed what Meckler predicted.
Global Reach, Local Focus
Peter Mannino, vice president and resident director of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, talked about the alliance. “The combination of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch has proven to offer our clients more solutions for their financial needs, no matter how simple or complex they happen to be. The scale that we offer is industry leading and we’re proud of the internal partnerships we have in order to offer our clients a unified approach to helping them achieve their goals,” he said.
Before moving over to financial services, Mannino’s worked in the hospitality industry. It was an experience that helped shape his ability to connect with clients and sharpened his management acumen. His colleague on the Bank of America Merrill Lynch side, Jason Miller, vice president and senior relationship manager, was influenced in a different way. He grew up in a family where his father was a small business owner.
“My Dad had a small logging company in Virginia” Miller recalled. “He worked really hard. He used to tell me, ‘I’m working this job, so you don’t have to.’ I often reflect on his struggles when working with my clients and wonder how different my Dad’s experience could have been if he had a true banking partner who was really involved. I carry that with me into every meeting I have with my clients, even though they may be multi-million-dollar companies involved in the aerospace industry.”
The Ability to Make a Difference
Both Miller and Mannino feel their respective professions found them. Miller was planning to be a business analyst, but he found he could bring that same strategic analysis to the middle market businesses he now serves. Both also share a deep affinity for the Space Coast and what the future here holds.
Miller went through LEAD Brevard in 2018 and Mannino is a 2019 alumni. “Brevard is a special place and I hope it is the last place I will ever move to,” Mannino said. “Viewing our community through the lens of the last decade and the economic resiliency we’ve shown, it’s nothing short of amazing.”
They also share an obvious pride in the values, the mission and the contribution their company makes to ensure the community they work in is all it can be. Miller serves on the Board of the EDC and Mannino on the board of numerous charitable organizations.
Miller explained that at the core of Bank of America’s mission is a commitment to “Responsible Growth.” The two words say a lot about the legacy of two of the most recognizable businesses in America and about the impact they want to have here on the Space Coast.