Merrill Prime Brokerage Boosts Clients, Revenue

Mar 26 2008 | 2:47pm ET

Merrill Lynch’s prime brokerage is booming, and the current market turmoil hasn’t dimmed its prospects, a top executive said.

The firm boosted the number of its prime brokerage clients by 50% over the past year, managing director Jeff Penney told Bloomberg News. The firm has focused on multi-strategy hedge funds—whose numbers have doubled in the past five years—and on hedge funds looking to work with more than one prime broker.

The growth at the third-largest prime brokerage pushed revenue and assets at the unit up 50% in the past year, as well, while Merrill has increased prime brokerage staffing by 20%.

Penney said the firm stands to profit from the collapse of Bear Stearns, with some 20 hedge funds calling with inquiries within three days.

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