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Wealth Management and Financial Services from Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch

BofA to Pay Nearly $800M Over Credit Card Practices

Bank of America agreed to pay nearly $800 million in fines and restitution to settle allegations of deceptive marketing and unfair billing involving credit card products, U.S. regulators said Wednesday.<p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said they …

Richard Cordray

Why Google doesn’t care about hiring top college graduates

Google has spent years analyzing who succeeds at the company, which has moved away from a focus on GPAs, brand name schools, and interview brain teasers.<p>In a conversation with The New York Times’ Tom Friedman, Google’s head of people operations, Laszlo Bock, detailed what the company looks for. And …

Employment

Fourteen stocks for 2014

ELM GROVE, Wisc. (MarketWatch) — At the start of 2013, I gave you four stocks to buy. Those picks did well. Wells Fargo has run from $35 to $45; …

Proof that offshore banking is the key to embezzling billions

The story of the day–complete with wolf-hunting accidents, private detectives and an angry dictator—is the Wall Street Journal’s rundown of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s alleged embezzlement of billions from a bank in Kazakhstan.<p>The tale of the oligarch-turned-dissident needs to be read to believed. Four …

Corruption

The Major Problem With Cheap Electric Cars

Mitsubishi is the latest in a long line of automakers to slash prices on an electric car, the unpronounceable, unfortunately named i-MiEV. The model …

Here Are 5 Red Flags For Spotting Bad Bond Funds

<b>5 Red Flags To Help Investors Spot A Bad Bond Fund</b><b>(Morningstar)</b><p>Eric Jacobson, a senior fund analyst at Morningstar points out five red flags that investors should watch for when it comes to bond funds. These can signal if the funds are taking on "more risk of a blowup than others."<p>1. Big yields — …

Investing

9 Branding Rules to Live By

Some companies never enhance their brand. Here are nine ways to make sure you're not one of them.<p>In an effort to succeed in this challenging economy, small business owners must effectively manage their brands. Remember, for many of them, there is little difference between your personal brand and …

Marketing

IMF says French downgrade was wrong

Olivier Blanchard, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist, denies there is an increased risk that France will be unable to pay debt<p>The International Monetary Fund's head economist has criticised the recent decision by the ratings agency Standard & Poor's to downgrade the French …

Economics

JPMorgan settlement could pose legal risk

Banks' packaging of risky mortgages into securities and selling them to investors was a key factor that led to the nation's financial crisis.<p>The admissions JPMorgan Chase agreed to under its record $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice could represent a new legal liability in …

JP Morgan Chase

You’ve Got the Information But What Does It Mean? Welcome to “From Data to Action”

“The numbers don’t lie.”<p>You hear that all the time. Even if it’s mostly true, the numbers can be slippery, cryptic, and, at times, two-faced. Whether they represent findings about your customers, products, or employees, they can be maddeningly open to interpretation.<p>With big data getting ever …

Strategic Humor: Cartoons from the December 2013 Issue

Enjoy these cartoons from the December issue of HBR, and test your management wit in the <b>HBR Cartoon Caption Contest at the bottom of this post</b>. If we choose your caption as the winner, you will be featured in next month’s magazine and win a free Harvard Business Review Press book.<p>“I think we’ve all …

How Chinese Companies Can Develop Global Brands

China leads all emerging markets with 89 companies on the latest <i>Fortune</i> Global 500 list of the world’s largest. Yet it does not have a single representative on Interbrand’s list of the top 100 global brands. Also, while China’s outward-bound foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown from an annual …

What Inexperienced Leaders Get Wrong (Hint: Management)

There are an awful lot of leaders in trouble these days. Not just those under attack for ethical lapses, accounting problems, or excessive compensation – retired college presidents are the latest to join corporate executives in the latter category. The trouble I’m referring to is getting new ideas …

Data’s Credibility Problem

Artwork: Chad Hagen, Nonsensical Infographic No. 7, 2009, digital<p>As a rising product-management executive prepares for an important presentation to her firm’s senior team, she notices that something looks off in the market share numbers. She immediately asks her assistant to verify the figures. He …

The Hidden Benefits of Keeping Teams Intact

A few years ago one of us met an orthopedic surgeon with a reputation as the Henry Ford of knee replacements. Most surgeons take one to two hours to replace a knee, but this doctor routinely completes the procedure in 20 minutes. In a typical year he performs more than 550 knee replacements—2.5 …

Hired by the Data, Fired by the Data

And That's a Good Thing<p>They're Watching You At Work<p>The Atlantic<p>The term Big Data, admits writer Don Peck, “has quickly grown tiresome.” But the power of analytics as a mechanism for making decisions about hiring and firing is still growing, and the “application of predictive analytics to people’s …

Five Sources of Start-up Ideas

Does anyone dispute that 2013 has been the year of the tech company? LinkedIn has surged over 100%. Twitter and Zulily popped more than 70% and 80% respectively on the day of their recent IPOs. Even Facebook’s stock, once completely out of favor, has doubled in value over the past six months.<p>As …

To Understand Consumer Data, Think Like an Anthropologist

It was hardly what you’d call an “adequate sample size” for market research, but the results were nevertheless eye-opening for the maker of a pain-relief ointment: A single consumer posted an online photo showing how he placed foil over the ointment to prevent it from staining his pants.<p>Despite …

Ten Predictions for China’s Economy in 2014

China has recently made major decisions about its economic future. On November 15, 2013, China announced dramatic new social and economic policies contemplating much greater reliance on market forces than it has in the past and inviting private-sector participation and foreign competition in …

The 25 Most Influential Business Leaders Of 2013

Men and women who, by virtue of their chutzpah and determination, built new companies, saved them from the brink of extinction, or forged new paths for others to follow.<p>To celebrate their creativity and bold innovation, we rounded up the business leaders who were major game-changers in tech, …

Sheryl Sandberg

Why India Has The Worst Food Inflation Problem In The World

"The recently released WPI for October 2013 shows India's food inflation jumped by 18.2% yoy, the fifth straight month of double-digit inflation," noted Societe Generale's Kunal Kundu.<p>Food price fluctuations are usually a function of supply, which is often linked to natural forces, and demand, …

Inflation

The US dollar's status has fallen – but not uniformly

The periods of high public concern do not coincide with falls in the dollar's share of international transactions<p>Since 1976, the US dollar's role as an international currency has been slowly waning. International use of the dollar to hold foreign-exchange reserves, denominate financial …

JPMorgan Says It Broke No Law. So Why Pay The $13 Billion?

State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.<p>But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the …