Merrill Lynch, reeling from billions of dollars of writedowns, has frozen hiring until year end, according to a memo sent to employees. The company said it will not replace employees that have left, nor will it hire for positions that were previously budgeted for.
The freeze does not apply to retail brokers, who numbered 16,690 at the end of the second quarter. Merrill Lynch cut 4,200 jobs in the first half of the year, and had a total of 60,000 employees at the end of June, excluding brokers.
Merrill Lynch has recorded more than $45 billion of writedowns since the credit crunch began last year, but Chief Executive John Thain said earlier this month that the company should return to profitability soon.
According to the firm-wide memo sent out Wednesday, requests for exceptions to the hiring freeze must be sent in writing to the management committee.
Merrill Lynch does most of its hiring in the first and second quarters, the memo said.