Merrill Lynch and Thomson Financial Announce Intention to Develop Wealth Management Workstation
Breakthrough Technology Platforms to Provide Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors With Most Advanced Tools for Client Service
NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 12, 2002 -- Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) and Thomson Financial, an operating unit of The Thomson Corporation, (TSX: TOC; NYSE: TOC) today announced their intention to finalize negotiations for a partnership to develop and implement Wealth Management Workstation, a new financial workstation supporting Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors.
Terms of the agreement are expected to be completed within the next several weeks. Thomson emerged as the preferred provider in a competitive process that exhaustively reviewed all alternatives.
Wealth Management Workstation will substantially enhance the capabilities currently available through the company's Trusted Global Advisor (TGA) system. It will provide a new standard of desktop technology to more than 25,000 users including Financial Advisors, Client Associates, the Financial Advisory Center and call centers.
Wealth Management Workstation will combine robust market data, news and portfolio management tools from Thomson with superior planning, risk and client relationship management (CRM) capabilities from leading providers. The new platform will be built around an open architecture allowing Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors access to best-of-breed financial information and tools. It will also include a re-design of Merrill Lynch's client web sites to enable greater collaboration between Financial Advisors and their clients.
In addition, each user will receive new, state-of-the-art computer hardware with a dual-screen desktop display. "Wealth Management Workstation will embody Merrill Lynch's focus on service excellence and we are excited about the prospect of partnering with Thomson, a world-class service provider," said James Gorman, President of Merrill Lynch's U.S. Private Client Group.
"Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors are among the industry's most highly-skilled professionals, committed to helping our clients realize their financial goals. Wealth Management Workstation will provide our Financial Advisors with the best technology, tools and content the market has to offer."
John McKinley, Merrill Lynch Chief Technology Officer and head of Merrill Lynch's Global Technology & Services Group said: "We saw a chance to deliver a platform that would give us a real competitive advantage. The combination of Thomson's innovative new platform with best-in-class CRM and planning solutions is a powerful mix that, in the hands of the world's best Financial Advisors, establishes Merrill Lynch as the benchmark for technology-enabled advice and service within the industry."
Added John Cummings, Chief Operating Officer of Merrill Lynch's Global Technology & Services Group: "This will be a totally integrated system, enabling our Financial Advisors to interact with clients, manage relationships, and have immediate access to information and best-of-breed tools for superior client service. Additionally, partnering with a recognized leader in developing technology platforms eliminates the expense and burden of managing a closed, proprietary system."
Some of the key benefits of the Wealth Management Workstation will include:
-- Quick and easy access to timely market data, news, and account information
-- Online collaboration with clients and between Financial Advisor teams
-- Client relationship management (CRM) tools
-- Portfolio management tools
-- Enhanced speed and stability
-- Flexibility to change platform features to react quickly to market changes
Pending negotiations, Thomson will develop and maintain Wealth Management Workstation, allowing Merrill Lynch to focus on its core competency of providing intelligent and timely financial advice to clients.
"We are looking forward to extending our relationship with Merrill Lynch as we partner with them in the development of this innovative wealth management platform," said Sharon Rowlands, Thomson Financial's Chief Operating Officer. "Thomson Financial has invested significantly in building world-class technology and information solutions. Our commitment to Merrill Lynch is to leverage our combined assets to create the most advanced tools for their Financial Advisors and clients."
About Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading financial management and advisory companies with offices in 37 countries and total client assets of approximately $1.3 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global underwriter of debt and equity securities and a leading strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Through Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, the company is one of the world's largest managers of financial assets. For more information, please visit www.ml.com.
About Thomson Financial
Thomson Financial (www.thomsonfinancial.com), is a US$1.6 billion provider of information and technology solutions to the worldwide financial community. Through the widest range of products and services in the industry, Thomson Financial helps clients in more than 70 countries make better decisions, be more productive and achieve superior results. Thomson Financial is part of The Thomson Corporation (www.thomson.com), a leading provider of value-added information, software applications and tools to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. The Corporation reported 2001 revenues of US$7.2 billion and its common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (TSX: TOC; NYSE: TOC).
CONTACT: Merrill Lynch Selena Morris, 212/449-7283 email@example.com or Erik Hendrickson, 212/449-7293 firstname.lastname@example.org or Thomson Financial Allison Hagan, 646/822-2076 email@example.com