Value Investor Manufactured Merrill Lynch a Drive in Fund Administration

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

Arthur Zeikel

had tiny ambition and no sense of what he may possibly do with his lifestyle. Then an inspiring professor launched him to economics and marketplaces.

Mr. Zeikel learned he was smarter than he imagined and went on to receive an M.B.A. diploma at New York University and establish a track record as a shiny youthful Wall Street fund manager. Merrill Lynch hired him in 1976 and set him in cost of its small asset-administration arm.

By harnessing a nationwide product sales force and creating a file of trustworthy functionality, he designed Merrill one of the nation’s primary fund administrators. His procedure proved “one of the company’s greatest achievement tales,”

Winthrop H. Smith Jr.

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

By inclination and schooling, Mr. Zeikel was a value trader, trying to get bargains on securities other traders had disregarded. That worked nicely for him in the lengthy time period but became a issue for the duration of the tech-stock euphoria of the late 1990s. Partly simply because of Merrill’s warning, some of its resources lagged considerably driving competitors in that interval.

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

Jeffrey Peek,

succeeding Mr. Zeikel, who was bumped up to nonexecutive chairman of that device. He retired in 1999. In the meantime, Merrill brought in outsiders to consider to jazz up its general performance.

Mr. Zeikel was gone by the time the crash of dot-com shares produced benefit investing search much better. “He was late to the game” of world wide web mania, reported

Launny Steffens,

who was a vice chairman of Merrill in the late 1990s, “but that sport ended incredibly badly for a lot of people today.”

In 2006, Merrill sold its asset-management enterprise to

BlackRock Inc.

for about $9.5 billion of BlackRock shares.

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

In 1994, a spike in fascination rates led to a crash in rates of closed-end municipal-bond money. Prospects who experienced bought those people resources from Merrill ended up furious, and there were calls inside the organization to exit that segment of the fund business. Mr. Zeikel determined an exit would be untimely. The money recovered sharply in just a 12 months. “Zeikel stuck to his guns,” mentioned

Vincent Giordano,

who oversaw municipal-bond funds at Merrill.

Similarly, Mr. Zeikel was unwilling to ditch fund supervisors only because their functionality lagged for a number of quarters. “People do have sluggish intervals,” he mentioned in a 1998 interview.

“He was the very best manager everyone could ever have,” stated

Joseph Monagle Jr.,

who oversaw bond and funds-sector funds. “When you went in to see him, you would have about 5 minutes at most to get your level across. He would ask penetrating thoughts, and then he would enable you do your job.”

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In a 1994 memo on cash-administration basic principles prepared for a single of his daughters,

Jill Zeikel,

Mr. Zeikel warned against receiving carried absent with present developments. “No process operates all of the time,” he suggested. “History is a guidebook, 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 bought tickets for Broadway shows.

A higher school counselor advised younger Arthur to try out trade college, but his mom informed him he was likely to university. At City College, 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 labored for Dreyfus Corp., the place he sooner or later headed research and managed investments.

His self-assurance inspired self-confidence. “People would inquire me thoughts, and I would remedy,” he explained a several decades back, discussing his early several years on Wall Avenue. “Did they check with me if I knew what I was conversing about? Most likely not.”

He picked up a lot more working experience at Typical & Poor’s/InterCapital Inc. and Oppenheimer & Co. ahead of joining Merrill in 1976. The inventory current market was weak in the late 1970s, but Us citizens shifted massive sums from price savings accounts into money-marketplace money in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then herded into fairness money as the stock industry rebounded. Merrill’s ground breaking funds-administration accounts place the business into a sturdy situation to entice unique investors’ income.

Mr. Zeikel produced a priority of satisfying Merrill’s coastline-to-coastline military of nearby brokers, who marketed the resources to their consumers and wished dependability. He excelled at entertaining and reassuring the brokers with witty shows.

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

Later 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 Administration,” amid other volumes.

Mr. Zeikel’s survivors involve his wife of 61 many years,

Terrie Zeikel,

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

His career, Mr. Zeikel explained, worked out “better than any person could have imagined.”

Publish to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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