Price Trader Made Merrill Lynch a Pressure in Fund Administration

As a pupil at Town College of New York in the early 1950s,

Arthur Zeikel

experienced tiny ambition and no sense of what he could do with his daily life. Then an inspiring professor launched him to economics and markets.

Mr. Zeikel found out he was smarter than he considered and went on to gain an M.B.A. degree at New York College and create a name as a shiny youthful Wall Street fund supervisor. Merrill Lynch hired him in 1976 and place him in demand of its little asset-administration arm.

By harnessing a nationwide gross sales drive and making a document of trustworthy performance, he built Merrill a person of the nation’s major fund professionals. His operation proved “one of the company’s biggest success stories,”

Winthrop H. Smith Jr.

, a previous Merrill executive, wrote in a record of the business, “Catching Lightning in a Bottle.”

By inclination and education, Mr. Zeikel was a price investor, in search of bargains on securities other traders experienced ignored. That worked very well for him in the lengthy expression but turned a challenge during the tech-stock euphoria of the late 1990s. Partly mainly because of Merrill’s caution, some of its cash lagged far guiding competitors in that period.

In late 1997, Merrill appointed a new president of its asset-administration company,

Jeffrey Peek,

succeeding Mr. Zeikel, who was bumped up to nonexecutive chairman of that unit. He retired in 1999. Meanwhile, Merrill introduced in outsiders to consider to jazz up its functionality.

Mr. Zeikel was long gone by the time the crash of dot-com stocks built price investing seem better. “He was late to the game” of web mania, claimed

Launny Steffens,

who was a vice chairman of Merrill in the late 1990s, “but that game finished quite badly for a lot of men and women.”

In 2006, Merrill bought its asset-administration company to

BlackRock Inc.

for about $9.5 billion of BlackRock shares.

Mr. Zeikel died Dec. 7. He was 89 and experienced kidney disease.

In 1994, a spike in desire rates led to a crash in prices of shut-conclusion municipal-bond funds. Customers who had purchased all those resources from Merrill were furious, and there had been phone calls inside of the agency to exit that segment of the fund company. Mr. Zeikel decided an exit would be premature. The money recovered sharply in a 12 months. “Zeikel stuck to his guns,” reported

Vincent Giordano,

who oversaw municipal-bond resources at Merrill.

Also, Mr. Zeikel was reluctant to ditch fund professionals only because their general performance lagged for a handful of quarters. “People do have sluggish periods,” he observed in a 1998 interview.

“He was the most effective boss any one could ever have,” explained

Joseph Monagle Jr.,

who oversaw bond and money-market resources. “When you went in to see him, you would have about five minutes at most to get your position across. He would ask penetrating queries, and then he would enable you do your career.”

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In a 1994 memo on income-administration basics published for 1 of his daughters,

Jill Zeikel,

Mr. Zeikel warned against having carried absent with latest developments. “No system will work all of the time,” he encouraged. “History is a guideline, not a template.”

Arthur Herman Zeikel was born June 1, 1932, and grew up in the Bronx. His father was an accountant, and his mom sold tickets for Broadway shows.

A higher faculty counselor suggested younger Arthur to attempt trade school, but his mother knowledgeable him he was likely to school. At Metropolis School, an economics professor, Jerome B. Cohen, grew to become his mentor and lined up a occupation for him at Ira Haupt & Co., a stockbroker. In the 1960s, he worked for Dreyfus Corp., exactly where he eventually headed study and managed investments.

His self-assurance influenced confidence. “People would check with me thoughts, and I would response,” he claimed a couple of many years ago, talking about his early years on Wall Street. “Did they inquire me if I understood what I was speaking about? Most likely not.”

He picked up much more encounter at Typical & Poor’s/InterCapital Inc. and Oppenheimer & Co. in advance of becoming a member of Merrill in 1976. The inventory market place was weak in the late 1970s, but Us residents shifted substantial sums from price savings accounts into dollars-industry cash in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then herded into equity funds as the stock market place rebounded. Merrill’s ground breaking cash-administration accounts set the firm into a sturdy placement to bring in specific investors’ dollars.

Mr. Zeikel built a priority of pleasing Merrill’s coast-to-coastline military of local brokers, who bought the funds to their shoppers and preferred trustworthiness. He excelled at entertaining and reassuring the brokers with witty displays.

In the early times, his superiors gave him loads of liberty. “If I wished to do a new fund, I did a new fund,” he reported.

Later on in his occupation, he taught finance as an adjunct professor at New York University. He was a co-creator of a textbook, “Investment Examination and Portfolio Management,” amongst other volumes.

Mr. Zeikel’s survivors contain his spouse of 61 several years,

Terrie Zeikel,

two daughters and 7 grandchildren. A son, Jeffrey Zeikel, died in 2019.

His occupation, Mr. Zeikel said, labored out “better than any individual could have imagined.”

Compose to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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