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BlackRock brand switch will be a ‘big bang’

The Merrill Lynch Investment Managers’ brand could soon be history, with BlackRock testing the water about a sooner than expected rebrand.

BlackRock merged with Merrill Lynch in September 2006, acquiring Merrill’s investment arm in exchange for 49 per cent of the new BlackRock business.

BlackRock managing director Richard Royds says as part of the deal, MLIM has until October 2009 to drop the Merrill Lynch branding as part of a sunset clause.

He says: “It is going to take time to replicate the success of a brand name like MLIM in the UK market but we are going to be dropping that name. The timing depends purely on our research of how much fire-power BlackRock has garnered as a marketing tool.

“But it will be a big bang when it does happen. We will not slowly reduce the Merrill Lynch name in the marketplace but simply change it completely over to BlackRock when the time is right.”

BestInvest senior investment adviser Hugo Shaw says: “Merrill Lynch Investment Managers has always been known as an associate of the massive US ban, and was something of an ano-maly to investors. Going to the BlackRock name almost gives them a clean slate.”

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