This content is from: Home
Michael O'Keefe lands at Merrill Lynch
Managers who want to run money for Merrill Lynch might want to learn Michael O'Keefe's name.
Managers who want to run money for Merrill Lynch might want to learn Michael O'Keefe's name. The 18-year veteran of consulting shop Wilshire Associates joined Merrill's Global Private Client Group in New York at the end of November as head of investment management and guidance. He'll be working behind the scenes at Merrill's massive retail brokerage operation, providing investment direction for its nearly 14,000 brokers and helping decide which outside managers are picked to invest chunks of its clients' $1.3 trillion in assets.
O'Keefe has plenty of experience evaluating money managers: In 1996 he co-founded Wilshire's Fund Management Group with former consulting chief Stephen Nesbitt. Last February, prompted by a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into possible conflicts of interest, Wilshire split its consulting and fund management arms, sparking a miniexodus: Nesbitt quit to launch his own consulting firm; O'Keefe, 45, soon followed.
"Managers are getting very good at positioning their products and positioning themselves," he says. "We really have to look through all of that -- and cut through the sales approach -- to get to the heart of what makes a good manager. That's the greatest challenge, and the greatest opportunity."