I wasn't surprised when newer financial institutions that specialized in sub-prime and other riskier loans started running into trouble as interest rates climbed. However, now apparently the older institutions, like Merill Lynch (founded in 1914), are starting to fall by the wayside. I had thought that the "institutional knowledge" required to keep a company going for nearly a century would be quite valuable in weathering the storms of the economy, but apparently whatever memory this company had of the Depression and half a dozen subsequent recessions, it wasn't enough.
It would be interesting to see exactly what thinking preceded this firm's disastrous move into subprime markets, and hopefully exactly that becomes required reading for business and finance professionals in the future.
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