Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Merrill Lynch's press release about their $100 million dollar settlement with the New York Attorney General's office is interesting for what it doesn't say. While they eventually acknowledge that

we are taking steps to reinforce the firewalls that separate our research department from investment banking

they never actually say the walls were ever breached. Instead, we find weasel wording like this:

We sincerely regret that there were instances in which certain of our Internet sector research analysts expressed views that at certain points may have appeared inconsistent with Merrill Lynch's published recommendations.

We view this situation as a very serious matter and have informed our research Department personnel that such communications, some of which violated internal policies, failed to meet the high standards that are our tradition and will not be tolerated.

"Our employees didn't do anything wrong... but damn them for talking about it!"


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