Merrill Lynch started out in 1914 as Charles E. Merrill & Co., named after its founder. Later that same year Merrill was joined by Edmund C. Lynch, with the name of the company being changed to Merrill, Lynch & Co. in 1915. It soon became evident that these two long-time friends had an eye for a good deal, and a series of successful business transactions followed, including the purchase of a company that later became RKO Pictures, and gaining a controlling interest in Safeway. Having weathered a number of storms during its history, the 2008 financial crisis proved to be too great a challenge and Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America in September 2008.
Having been rescued during this tumultuous time, Merrill Lynch attributes its continued success to the fact that it builds and maintains solid partnerships with its clients, based on solid ethical principles of respect for the individual, client focus, teamwork, integrity and responsible citizenship. Its operations are organized into two separate business segments, being Global Wealth Management (GWM) aimed at individuals, small and mid-sized businesses, and Global Markets and Investment Banking (GMI) aimed at corporate, institutional and government clients around the world.