Worth Trader Designed Merrill Lynch a Drive in Fund Management

As a student at Metropolis School of New York in the early 1950s,

Arthur Zeikel

experienced little ambition and no feeling of what he may possibly do with his lifetime. Then an inspiring professor launched him to economics and markets.

Mr. Zeikel found out he was smarter than he thought and went on to generate an M.B.A. diploma at New York College and build a name as a dazzling young Wall Street fund supervisor. Merrill Lynch hired him in 1976 and set him in charge of its little asset-management arm.

By harnessing a nationwide income pressure and setting up a record of responsible functionality, he designed Merrill one of the nation’s main fund managers. His procedure proved “one of the company’s best good results stories,”

Winthrop H. Smith Jr.

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

By inclination and teaching, Mr. Zeikel was a price trader, looking for bargains on securities other traders experienced missed. That worked well for him in the prolonged time period but grew to become a trouble for the duration of the tech-inventory euphoria of the late 1990s. Partly mainly because of Merrill’s warning, some of its funds lagged significantly at the rear of competitors in that period of time.

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

Jeffrey Peek,

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

Mr. Zeikel was absent by the time the crash of dot-com shares designed price investing seem superior. “He was late to the game” of world-wide-web mania, said

Launny Steffens,

who was a vice chairman of Merrill in the late 1990s, “but that video game finished incredibly badly for lots of folks.”

In 2006, Merrill offered its asset-administration company to

BlackRock Inc.

for about $9.5 billion of BlackRock shares.

Mr. Zeikel died Dec. 7. He was 89 and had kidney condition.

In 1994, a spike in desire premiums led to a crash in price ranges of closed-end municipal-bond cash. Prospects who experienced acquired those money from Merrill had been furious, and there have been calls inside the business to exit that phase of the fund business enterprise. Mr. Zeikel made the decision an exit would be premature. The money recovered sharply in just a 12 months. “Zeikel stuck to his guns,” explained

Vincent Giordano,

who oversaw municipal-bond cash at Merrill.

Similarly, Mr. Zeikel was hesitant to ditch fund managers basically since their effectiveness lagged for a few quarters. “People do have gradual periods,” he mentioned in a 1998 interview.

“He was the ideal boss everyone could at any time have,” claimed

Joseph Monagle Jr.,

who oversaw bond and cash-marketplace funds. “When you went in to see him, you would have about 5 minutes at most to get your point across. He would inquire penetrating concerns, and then he would enable you do your career.”

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In a 1994 memo on dollars-administration fundamentals composed for a single of his daughters,

Jill Zeikel,

Mr. Zeikel warned versus obtaining carried away with recent developments. “No procedure performs all of the time,” he advised. “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 mother marketed tickets for Broadway reveals.

A superior faculty counselor advised young Arthur to check out trade college, but his mother knowledgeable him he was heading to school. At City Higher education, an economics professor, Jerome B. Cohen, became his mentor and lined up a job for him at Ira Haupt & Co., a stockbroker. In the 1960s, he worked for Dreyfus Corp., exactly where he eventually headed investigation and managed investments.

His self-assurance impressed self esteem. “People would question me issues, and I would response,” he claimed a several yrs ago, speaking about his early decades on Wall Road. “Did they question me if I realized what I was talking about? Almost certainly not.”

He picked up more working experience at Common & Poor’s/InterCapital Inc. and Oppenheimer & Co. before signing up for Merrill in 1976. The inventory marketplace was weak in the late 1970s, but People in america shifted substantial sums from cost savings accounts into cash-marketplace funds in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then herded into fairness resources as the inventory industry rebounded. Merrill’s innovative money-administration accounts put the firm into a robust placement to attract individual investors’ dollars.

Mr. Zeikel built a precedence of satisfying Merrill’s coast-to-coastline army of area brokers, who bought the funds to their customers and needed dependability. He excelled at entertaining and reassuring the brokers with witty shows.

In the early days, his superiors gave him loads of liberty. “If I preferred to do a new fund, I did a new fund,” he said.

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

Mr. Zeikel’s survivors include things like his wife of 61 a long time,

Terrie Zeikel,

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

His profession, Mr. Zeikel stated, worked out “better than anybody could have imagined.”

Create to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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