10-K 1 ml-12312011x10k.htm FORM 10-K ML-12.31.2011-10K
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
X
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011
Commission file number: 1-7182
MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
13-2740599
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
Bank of America Corporate Center
100 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
  
28255
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 
(704) 386-5681
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Trust Preferred Securities of Merrill Lynch Capital Trust I (and the guarantee of the Registrant with respect thereto);
Trust Preferred Securities of Merrill Lynch Capital Trust II (and the guarantee of the Registrant with respect thereto);
Trust Preferred Securities of Merrill Lynch Capital Trust III (and the guarantee of the Registrant with respect thereto)
 
New York Stock Exchange
See the full list of securities listed on the NYSE Arca on the pages directly following this cover.
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
_     YES      X     NO
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.
       YES      X     NO
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
X     YES             NO
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
X     YES             NO
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.     X
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer    
Accelerated filer    
Non-accelerated filer  X
Smaller reporting company    
 
 
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
       YES      X     NO
As of the close of business on June 30, 2011, there was no voting common equity of the Registrant ("Common Stock") held by non-affiliates. The Registrant has no non-voting Common Stock.
As of the close of business on February 23, 2012, there were 1,000 shares of Common Stock outstanding, all of which were held by Bank of America Corporation.
The Registrant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation and meets the conditions set forth in General Instructions I(1)(a) and (b) of Form 10-K and is therefore filing this Form with a reduced disclosure format as permitted by Instruction I (2).



Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act and listed on the NYSE® Arca® are as follows:
Strategic Return Notes® 
Strategic Return Notes Linked to the Select Ten Index due March 8, 2012
Strategic Return Notes Linked to the Select Ten Index due May 10, 2012
Strategic Return Notes Linked to the Select 10 Index due July 5, 2012
Strategic Return Notes Linked to the Merrill Lynch Factor Model® due November 7, 2012
Strategic Return Notes Linked to the Merrill Lynch Factor Model® due December 6, 2012
NYSE and Arca are registered service marks of NYSE Group, Inc. All other service marks are the property of Bank of America Corporation.

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ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
Consolidated Financial Statements
 
 

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PART I

Item 1.
Business
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (“ML & Co.” and together with its subsidiaries, “Merrill Lynch”, or the “Company”) is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries, is one of the world's leading capital markets, advisory and wealth management companies. The Company was founded in 1914 and became a publicly traded company on June 23, 1971. In 1973, the holding company ML & Co., a Delaware corporation, was created. Through our subsidiaries, we are a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes, and we serve as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. When used in this report, “we”, “us” and “our” may refer to ML & Co. individually, ML & Co. and its subsidiaries, or certain of ML & Co.'s subsidiaries or affiliates.
We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“Bank of America”) and meet the requirements to omit certain information from this Form 10-K as permitted by General Instruction I (2) of Form 10-K. We have also provided a brief description of our business activities in Item 1 as permitted by General Instruction I (2).
Pursuant to Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 280, Segment Reporting (“Segment Reporting”), operating segments represent components of an enterprise for which separate financial information is available that is regularly evaluated by the chief operating decision maker in determining how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The business activities of Merrill Lynch are included within certain of the operating segments of Bank of America. Detailed financial information related to the operations of Merrill Lynch, however, is not provided to Merrill Lynch's chief operating decision maker. As a result, Merrill Lynch does not contain any identifiable operating segments under Segment Reporting, and therefore the financial information of Merrill Lynch is presented as a single segment.
The following is a brief discussion of the nature and scope of our activities in 2011.
Capital Markets and Advisory Activities.  We conduct sales and trading activities and act as a market maker in securities, derivatives, currencies, and other financial instruments to satisfy client demands. In addition, we distribute fixed income, currency, commodity and equity products, and derivatives. We also provide clients with financing, securities clearing, settlement, and custody services, and engage in select principal investing activities.
We also assist clients in raising capital through underwritings and private placements of equity, debt and related securities, and loan syndications and offer advisory services to clients on strategic issues, valuation, mergers, acquisitions and restructurings.
In November 2010, Banc of America Securities LLC (“BAS”), a wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of Bank of America, merged into Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”), a wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of ML & Co., with MLPF&S as the surviving corporation. See Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information.
Wealth and Investment Management Activities.  We provide brokerage, investment advisory and financial planning services, offering a broad range of both proprietary and third-party wealth management products and services globally to individuals, small- to mid-size businesses, and employee benefit plans. We also create and manage wealth management products, including alternative investment products for clients.
At December 31, 2010, we owned an approximately 7% economic interest in BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”), a publicly traded investment management company. In June 2011, we sold our entire economic interest in BlackRock, and therefore as of December 31, 2011 we no longer held an economic interest in BlackRock. See Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information.
Research.  We also provide a variety of research services on a global basis. These services are at the core of the value proposition we offer to institutional and individual investor clients and are an integral component of our product offerings.
For additional information about our business, see Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Regulation
Certain aspects of our business, and the business of our competitors and the financial services industry in general, are subject to extensive regulation by United States (“U.S.”) federal and state regulatory agencies and securities exchanges and by various non-U.S. government agencies or regulatory bodies, securities exchanges, self-regulatory organizations and central banks.
United States Regulatory Oversight and Supervision
Holding Company Supervision
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America, a bank holding company that is also a financial holding company, we are subject to the oversight of, and inspection by, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”).
Broker-Dealer Regulation
MLPF&S, Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. (“ML Pro”) and certain other subsidiaries of ML & Co. are registered as broker-dealers with the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and, as such, are subject to regulation by the SEC and by self-regulatory organizations, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Certain of our subsidiaries and affiliates, including MLPF&S, are registered as investment advisors with the SEC.
Our subsidiaries that are broker-dealers registered with the SEC are subject to Rule 15c3-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) which is designed to measure the general financial condition and liquidity of a broker-dealer. Under this rule, these entities are required to maintain the minimum net capital deemed necessary to meet broker-dealers’ continuing commitments to customers and others. Under certain circumstances, this rule limits the ability of such broker-dealers to allow withdrawal of such capital by ML & Co. or other Merrill Lynch subsidiaries. Additional information regarding certain net capital requirements is in Note 18 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
Financial Reform Act
 On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Financial Reform Act”) was signed into law. As a result of the Financial Reform Act, several significant regulatory developments occurred in 2011, and additional regulatory developments may occur in 2012 and beyond. The Financial Reform Act has had, and will continue to have, a significant and negative impact on our earnings through revenue reductions, higher costs and new restrictions. For a description of significant developments, see “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Executive Overview - Other Events - Financial Reform Act” in Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K.

Non-U.S. Regulatory Oversight and Supervision
Our business is also subject to extensive regulation by various non-U.S. regulators including governments, securities exchanges, central banks and regulatory bodies. Certain of our subsidiaries are regulated as broker-dealers under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they operate. Subsidiaries engaged in banking and trust activities outside the U.S. are regulated by various government entities in the particular jurisdiction where they are chartered, incorporated and/or conduct their business activities. In some cases, the legislative and regulatory developments outside the U.S. applicable to these subsidiaries may have an impact on our business and results of operations. Our financial services operations in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) are subject to regulation by and supervision of the Financial Services Authority (the “FSA”). In July of 2010, the U.K. proposed abolishing the FSA and replacing it with the Financial Policy Committee within the Bank of England (the “FPC”) and two new regulators, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (the “PRA”) and the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (the “CPMA”). Our U.K. regulated entities will be subject to the supervision of the FPC and the PRA for prudential matters and the CPMA for conduct of business matters. The new financial regulatory structure is intended to be in place by the end of 2012. We continue to monitor the development and potential impact of this regulatory restructuring.



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Item 1A.
Risk Factors
In the course of conducting our business operations, we are exposed to a variety of risks, some of which are inherent in the financial services industry and others of which are more specific to our own businesses. The following discussion addresses the most significant factors that could affect our businesses, operations, and financial condition. Additional factors that could affect our financial condition and operations are discussed in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Forward-Looking Statements.” However, other factors could also adversely affect our businesses, operations, and financial condition. Therefore, the risk factors below should not be considered a complete list of potential risks that we may face.

General Economic and Market Conditions Risk
Our businesses and results of operations have been, and may continue to be, materially and adversely affected by the U.S. and international financial markets and economic conditions generally.  Our businesses and results of operations are materially affected by the financial markets and general economic conditions in the U.S. and abroad, including factors such as the level and volatility of short-term and long-term interest rates, inflation, home prices, unemployment and under-employment levels, bankruptcies, household income, consumer spending, fluctuations in both debt and equity capital markets, liquidity of the global financial markets, the availability and cost of capital and credit, investor sentiment and confidence in the financial markets, European sovereign debt risks and the strength of the U.S. economy and the non-U.S. economies in which we operate. The deterioration of any of these conditions can adversely affect our business and securities portfolios, our level of charge-offs and provision for credit losses, the carrying value of our deferred tax assets, our capital levels and liquidity and our results of operations.
Although the U.S. economy continued its modest recovery in 2011, elevated unemployment, under-employment and household debt, along with continued stress in the consumer real estate market and certain commercial real estate markets, pose challenges for domestic economic performance and the financial services industry. The sustained high unemployment rate and the lengthy duration of unemployment have directly impaired consumer finances and pose risks to the financial services industry. The U.S. housing market remains weak and elevated levels of distressed and delinquent mortgages pose further risks to the housing market. In addition, the public perception of certain financial services firms and practices appeared to decline during 2011. The current environment of heightened scrutiny of financial institutions has resulted in increased public awareness of and sensitivity to financial services industry fees and practices. Each of these factors may adversely affect our fees and costs.
Liquidity Risk
Liquidity risk is the potential inability to meet our contractual and contingent financial obligations, on- or off-balance sheet, as they become due.
Adverse changes to Bank of America’s or our credit ratings from the major credit rating agencies could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, cash flows, competitive position, financial condition and results of operations by significantly limiting our access to funding or the capital markets, increasing our borrowing costs, or triggering additional collateral or funding requirements. Our borrowing costs and ability to raise funds are directly impacted by our credit ratings. In addition, credit ratings may be important to customers or counterparties when we compete in certain markets and when we seek to engage in certain transactions, including over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives.
Credit ratings and outlooks are opinions on our creditworthiness and that of our obligations or securities, including long-term debt, short-term borrowings and other securities, including asset securitizations. Following the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, the major credit rating agencies have indicated that the primary drivers of Merrill Lynch's credit ratings are Bank of America's credit ratings. Bank of America's credit ratings are subject to ongoing review by the rating agencies, which consider a number of factors, including Bank of America's financial strength, performance, prospects and operations as well as factors not under Bank of America's control.


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On December 15, 2011, Fitch Ratings ("Fitch") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Fitch's decision to lower its “support floor” for systemically important U.S. financial institutions. On November 29, 2011, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services ("S&P") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of S&P's implementation of revised methodologies for determining Banking Industry Country Risk Assessments and bank ratings. On September 21, 2011, Moody's Investors Service, Inc. ("Moody's") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Moody's lowering the amount of uplift for potential U.S. government support it incorporates into ratings. On February 15, 2012, Moody's placed Bank of America's long-term debt ratings on review for possible downgrade as part of their review of financial institutions with global capital markets operations. Any adjustment to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) ratings will be determined based on Moody's review; however, the agency offered guidance that downgrades to Bank of America's ratings, if any, would likely be limited to one notch.

Currently, Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term/short-term senior debt ratings and outlooks expressed by the rating agencies are as follows: Baa1/P-2 (negative) by Moody's; A-/A-2 (negative) by S&P; and A/F1 (stable) by Fitch. The rating agencies could make further adjustments to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) credit ratings at any time. There can be no assurance that additional downgrades will not occur.
A further reduction in certain of our credit ratings may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, access to credit markets, the related cost of funds, our businesses and on certain trading revenues, particularly in those businesses where counterparty creditworthiness is critical. If Bank of America’s or Merrill Lynch’s (including our bank's or broker dealer subsidiaries') short-term credit ratings were downgraded by one or more levels, the potential loss of access to short-term funding sources such as repurchase agreement financing and the effect on our incremental cost of funds and earnings could be material.
In addition, under the terms of certain OTC derivative contracts and other trading agreements, in the event of a further downgrade of the credit ratings of ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries, counterparties to those agreements may require ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries to provide additional collateral, terminate these contracts or agreements, or provide other remedies. At December 31, 2011, if the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by one incremental notch, the amount of additional collateral contractually required by derivative contracts and other trading agreements would have been approximately $0.4 billion. If the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by a second incremental notch, approximately $0.3 billion in additional collateral would have been required.
Also, if the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by one incremental notch, the derivative liability that would be subject to unilateral termination by counterparties as of December 31, 2011 was $0.5 billion, against which $0.3 billion of collateral had been posted. If the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by a second incremental notch, the derivative liability that would be subject to unilateral termination by the counterparties as of December 31, 2011 was an incremental $3.5 billion, against which $3.4 billion of collateral had been posted.
While certain potential impacts are contractual and quantifiable, the full consequences of a credit ratings downgrade to a financial institution are inherently uncertain, as they depend upon numerous dynamic, complex and inter-related factors and assumptions, including whether any downgrade of a firm's long-term credit ratings precipitates downgrades to its short-term credit ratings, and assumptions about the potential behaviors of various customers, investors and counterparties.
For a further discussion of our liquidity matters, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Funding and Liquidity.”
Our liquidity, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations, and competitive position may be significantly adversely affected by the inability of us or Bank of America to access the capital markets or if there is an increase in our borrowing costs.  Liquidity is essential to our business. We fund our assets primarily with a mix of secured and unsecured liabilities through a globally coordinated funding strategy with Bank of America. We have established intercompany lending and borrowing arrangements to facilitate centralized liquidity management. As a

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result, our liquidity risk is derived in large part from Bank of America’s liquidity risk. Bank of America’s and our liquidity could be significantly adversely affected by an inability to access the capital markets; illiquidity or volatility in the capital markets; unforeseen outflows of cash, including customer deposits, funding for commitments and contingencies; the ability to sell assets on favorable terms; increased liquidity requirements on our banking or nonbanking subsidiaries imposed by their home countries; or negative perceptions about Bank of America’s and our short- or long-term business prospects, including downgrades of credit ratings. Several of these factors may arise due to circumstances that neither we nor Bank of America may be able to control, such as a general market disruption, negative views about the financial services industry generally, changes in the regulatory environment, actions by credit rating agencies or an operational problem that affects third parties, us or Bank of America.
Our and Bank of America’s cost of obtaining funding is directly related to prevailing market interest rates and to credit spreads. Credit spreads are the amount in excess of the interest rate of U.S. Treasury securities, or other benchmark securities, of the same maturity that we or Bank of America need to pay to funding providers. Increases in interest rates and such credit spreads can significantly increase the cost of funding for us and Bank of America. Changes in credit spreads are market-driven and may be influenced by market perceptions of the creditworthiness of us and Bank of America. Changes to interest rates and credit spreads occur continuously and may be unpredictable and highly volatile.
For additional information about our liquidity, including credit ratings and outlooks, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Funding and Liquidity.”
Our dependence upon funds from our subsidiaries and our parent could adversely impact our liquidity.  ML & Co. is a holding company that is a separate and distinct legal entity from its parent, Bank of America, and our broker-dealers and other subsidiaries. We evaluate and manage liquidity on a legal entity basis. Legal entity liquidity is an important consideration as there are legal and other limitations on our ability to utilize liquidity from one legal entity to satisfy the liquidity requirements of another, including ML & Co. For instance, ML & Co. depends on dividends, distributions and borrowings or other payments from its subsidiaries and may depend in large part on financing from Bank of America to fund payments on our obligations, including debt obligations. Bank of America may, in some instances, be unable to provide us with the funding we need to fund payments on our obligations. Many of our subsidiaries, including our broker-dealer subsidiaries, are subject to laws that restrict dividend payments to ML & Co. In addition, our broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on their ability to lend or transact with affiliates and to minimum regulatory capital and liquidity requirements, as well as restrictions on their ability to use funds deposited with them in brokerage accounts to fund their businesses. Additional restrictions on related party transactions, increased capital and liquidity requirements and additional limitations on the use of funds on deposit in brokerage accounts, as well as lower earnings, can reduce the amount of funds available to meet the obligations of ML & Co. and even require ML & Co. to provide additional funding to such subsidiaries. Regulatory action of that kind could impede access to funds we need to make payments on our obligations. In addition, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors. For additional information about regulatory capital requirements and limitations on our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends, see Note 18 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
Mortgage and Housing Market-Related Risk
We have been, and expect to continue to be, required to repurchase mortgage loans and/or reimburse whole loan buyers, Fannie Mae ("FNMA") and Freddie Mac (collectively, the "GSEs") and monolines for losses due to claims related to representations and warranties made in connection with sales of residential mortgage-backed securities and other loans, and have received similar claims, and may receive additional claims, from private-label securitization investors and private-label securitization trustees, monolines and others. We have recorded provisions for certain of these exposures. However, the ultimate resolution of these exposures could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.  In connection with residential loans sold to investors other than the GSEs as well as to the GSEs, Merrill Lynch and certain of its subsidiaries made various representations and warranties. Breaches of these representations and warranties may result in a requirement that we repurchase mortgage loans, or indemnify or provide other remedies to counterparties

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(collectively, "repurchases"). Merrill Lynch, including First Franklin Financial Corporation ("First Franklin"), sold loans originated from 2004 to 2008 (primarily subprime and alt-A) with an original principal balance of $132 billion through private-label securitizations or whole loan sales that were subject to representations and warranties liabilities. Most of the loans sold in the form of whole loans were subsequently pooled into private-label securitizations sponsored by the third-party buyer of the whole loans. For the outstanding balance of these loans as of December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010, see Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Off-Balance Sheet Exposures - Representations and Warranties - Experience with Non-GSE Investors” in Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K. In addition, Merrill Lynch and First Franklin securitized first-lien residential mortgage loans, generally in the form of mortgage-backed securities ("MBS") guaranteed by the GSEs.
The amount of our total outstanding repurchase claims from all sources totaled approximately $1.3 billion at December 31, 2011. The total amount of our recorded liability related to representations and warranties repurchase exposure was $2.8 billion at December 31, 2011. For information concerning the provisions recorded in 2011 and 2010 for our repurchase exposure on private-label securitizations, see Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
Our estimated liability and range of possible loss with respect to non-GSE exposures is necessarily dependent on, and limited by, our historical claims and settlement experience and the experience of our affiliates with non-GSE counterparties and may materially change in the future based on factors beyond our control. Future provisions and/or estimated ranges of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties may be significantly impacted if actual experiences are different from our assumptions in our predictive models, including, without limitation, those regarding the ultimate resolution of the Bank of New York Mellon settlement, estimated repurchase rates, economic conditions, home prices, consumer and counterparty behavior, and a variety of judgmental factors. In addition, we have not recorded any representations and warranties liability for certain potential monoline exposures and certain potential whole loan exposures. We currently estimate that the range of possible loss related to non-GSE representations and warranties exposure as of December 31, 2011 could be up to $0.5 billion over existing accruals. This estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties does not represent a probable loss, and is based on currently available information, significant judgment, and a number of assumptions that are subject to change, including the assumption that the conditions of the BNY Mellon Settlement are satisfied.

Adverse developments with respect to one or more of the assumptions underlying the liability for non-GSE representations and warranties and the corresponding estimated range of possible loss could result in significant increases to future provisions and our estimated range of possible loss. If future representations and warranties losses occur in excess of our recorded liability and estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE exposures and in excess of our recorded liability for GSE exposures, including as a result of the factors set forth below, such losses could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
The liability for obligations under representations and warranties with respect to GSE and non-GSE exposures and the corresponding estimate of the range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties exposures do not include any losses related to litigation matters disclosed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, nor do they include any potential securities law or fraud claims or potential indemnity or other claims against us. Merrill Lynch is not able to reasonably estimate the amount of any possible loss with respect to any such securities law (except to the extent reflected in the aggregate range of possible loss for litigation and regulatory matters disclosed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements), fraud or other claims against us; however, such loss could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
For additional information about our representations and warranties exposure, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Off-Balance Sheet Exposures — Representations and Warranties” and Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
If final court approval is not obtained with respect to the BNY Mellon Settlement or if Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries determine to withdraw from the settlement, Merrill Lynch's future representations and warranties losses could substantially exceed our existing accruals and the estimated range of possible loss over existing accruals, and consequently could have a material adverse effect on Merrill Lynch's cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. On June 28, 2011, Bank of America and certain of its non-

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Merrill Lynch subsidiaries entered into a settlement agreement with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), as trustee, to resolve, among other claims, all outstanding and potential claims related to alleged representations and warranties breaches (including repurchase claims) with respect to the 525 legacy first-lien and five second-lien non-GSE residential mortgage-backed securitization trusts containing loans principally originated between 2004 and 2008 and for which BNY Mellon acts as trustee or indenture trustee (the “BNY Mellon Settlement”). The BNY Mellon Settlement is subject to final court approval and certain other conditions. It is not currently possible to predict the timing or ultimate outcome of the court approval process, which can include appeals and could take a substantial period of time. There can be no assurance that final court approval of the settlement will be obtained, that all conditions will be satisfied (including the receipt of private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and other tax rulings and opinions) or that, if certain conditions to the BNY Mellon Settlement permitting withdrawal are met, Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries will not determine to withdraw from the BNY Mellon Settlement agreement.

If final court approval is not obtained with respect to the BNY Mellon Settlement or if Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries determine to withdraw from the BNY Mellon Settlement agreement in accordance with its terms, Merrill Lynch's future representations and warranties losses with respect to non-GSEs could substantially exceed our non-GSE reserve, together with our estimated range of possible loss related to non-GSE representations and warranties exposure of up to $0.5 billion over existing accruals at December 31, 2011. Developments with respect to one or more of the assumptions underlying the estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties (including the timing and ultimate outcome of the court approval process relating to the BNY Mellon Settlement) could result in significant increases in our non-GSE reserve and/or to this estimated range of possible loss, and such increases could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. For additional information regarding the BNY Mellon Settlement, see “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Off-Balance Sheet Exposures - Representations and Warranties”.
Further weakness in the U.S. housing market, including home prices, may adversely affect our asset classes and have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.  Economic weakness in 2011 was accompanied by continued stress in the U.S. housing market, including declines in home prices. These declines in the housing market, with falling home prices and elevated foreclosures, have negatively impacted the credit performance of certain of our portfolios. Continued high unemployment rates in the U.S. have challenged U.S. consumers and further compounded these stresses in the U.S. housing market as employment conditions may be compelling some consumers to delay new home purchases or miss payments on existing mortgages.
Conditions in the U.S. housing market have also resulted in significant write-downs of asset values in several asset classes, notably mortgage-backed securities and exposure to monolines. These conditions may negatively affect the value of real estate, which could negatively affect our exposure to representations and warranties. While there were continued indications throughout the past year that the U.S. economy is stabilizing, the performance of our overall portfolios may not significantly improve in the near future. A protracted continuation or worsening of these difficult U.S. housing market conditions may exacerbate the adverse effects outlined above and have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Credit Risk
Credit risk is the risk of loss arising from a borrower, obligor or counterparty default when a borrower, obligor or counterparty does not meet its obligations.
Increased credit risk, due to economic or market disruptions, insufficient credit loss reserves or concentration of credit risk, may necessitate increased provisions for credit losses and could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.  When we buy debt securities, loan money, commit to loan money or enter into a letter of credit or other contract with a counterparty, we incur credit risk, or the risk of losses if our borrowers do not repay their loans or our counterparties fail to perform according to the terms of their agreements. A number of our products expose us to credit risk, including loans, lending commitments, derivatives, trading account assets and assets held-for-sale. The credit quality of our portfolios has a significant impact on our earnings.


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Global and U.S. economic conditions continue to weigh on our credit portfolios. Economic or market disruptions are likely to increase our credit exposure to customers, obligors or other counterparties due to the increased risk that they may default on their obligations to us.
We estimate and establish an allowance for credit losses for losses inherent in our lending activities (including unfunded lending commitments), excluding those measured at fair value, through a charge to earnings. The amount of allowance is determined based on our evaluation of the potential credit losses included within our loan portfolio. The process for determining the amount of the allowance requires difficult, subjective and complex judgments. Our ability to assess future economic conditions or the creditworthiness of our customers, obligors or other counterparties is imperfect. We may suffer unexpected losses if the models and assumptions we use to establish reserves and make judgments in extending credit to our borrowers and other counterparties become less predictive of future events. In such an event, we might need to increase the size of our allowance, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
In the ordinary course of our business, we also may be subject to a concentration of credit risk in a particular industry, country, counterparty, borrower or issuer. A deterioration in the financial condition or prospects of a particular industry or a failure or downgrade of, or default by, any particular entity or group of entities could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, and the processes by which we set limits and monitor the level of our credit exposure to individual entities, industries and countries may not function as we have anticipated. While our activities expose us to many different industries and counterparties, we routinely execute a high volume of transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including broker-dealers, commercial banks, investment funds and insurers. This has resulted in significant credit concentration with respect to this industry.
In the ordinary course of business, we also enter into transactions with sovereign nations, U.S. states and U.S. municipalities. Unfavorable economic or political conditions, disruptions to capital markets, currency fluctuations, social instability and changes in government policies could impact the operating budgets or credit ratings of sovereign nations, U.S. states and U.S. municipalities and expose us to credit risk.
For additional information about our credit risk and credit risk management policies and procedures, see “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk — Credit Risk Management.”

We could suffer losses as a result of the actions of, or deterioration in, the commercial soundness of our counterparties and other financial services institutions.  We could suffer losses and our ability to engage in routine trading and funding transactions could be adversely affected by the actions and commercial soundness of other market participants. We have exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and we routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including broker-dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, mutual and hedge funds and other institutional clients. Financial services institutions and other counterparties are inter-related because of trading, funding, clearing or other relationships. As a result, defaults by, or even rumors or questions about, one or more financial services institutions, or the financial services industry generally, have led to market-wide liquidity problems and could lead to significant future liquidity problems, including losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of a counterparty or client. In addition, our credit risk may be impacted when the collateral held by us cannot be realized or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the loan or derivatives exposure due us. Any such losses could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our derivatives businesses may expose us to unexpected risks and potential losses.  We are party to a large number of derivatives transactions, including credit derivatives. Our derivatives businesses may expose us to unexpected market, credit and operational risks that could cause us to suffer unexpected losses and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Severe declines in asset values, unanticipated credit events or unforeseen circumstances that may cause previously uncorrelated factors to become correlated (and vice versa) may create losses resulting from risks not appropriately taken into account in the development, structuring or pricing of a derivative instrument. The terms of certain of our OTC derivative contracts and other trading agreements provide that upon the occurrence of certain specified events, such as a change in our credit ratings, we may be required to provide additional collateral or to provide other remedies, or our counterparties may have the right to terminate or otherwise diminish our rights under these contracts or agreements.

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Many derivative instruments are individually negotiated and non-standardized, which can make exiting, transferring or settling some positions difficult. Many derivatives require that we deliver to the counterparty the underlying security, loan or other obligation in order to receive payment. In a number of cases, we do not hold, and may not be able to obtain, the underlying security, loan or other obligation.
Following the downgrade of the credit ratings of ML & Co. and certain subsidiaries, we have engaged in discussions with certain derivative and other counterparties regarding their rights under these agreements. In response to counterparties' inquiries and requests, we have discussed and in some cases substituted derivative contracts and other trading agreements, including naming our affiliate, Bank of America, N.A. ("BANA") as the new counterparty. Our ability to substitute or make changes to these agreements to meet counterparties' requests may be subject to certain limitations, including counterparty willingness, regulatory limitations on naming BANA as the new counterparty, and the type or amount of collateral required. It is possible that such limitations on our ability to substitute or make changes to these agreements, including naming BANA as the new counterparty, could adversely affect our results of operations.
Derivatives contracts and other transactions entered into with third parties are not always confirmed by the counterparties or settled on a timely basis. While a transaction remains unconfirmed or during any delay in settlement, we are subject to heightened credit and operational risk and in the event of default may find it more difficult to enforce the contract. In addition, as new and more complex derivatives products have been created, covering a wider array of underlying credit and other instruments, disputes about the terms of the underlying contracts may arise, which could impair our ability to effectively manage our risk exposures from these products and subject us to increased costs.
For additional information on our derivatives exposure, see Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Market Risk
Market risk is the risk that values of assets and liabilities or revenues will be adversely affected by changes in market conditions such as market volatility. Market risk is inherent in the financial instruments associated with our operations and activities, including loans, deposits, securities, short-term borrowings, long-term debt, trading account assets and liabilities, and derivatives.
Our businesses and results of operations have been, and may continue to be, significantly adversely affected by changes in the levels of market volatility and by other financial or capital market conditions.  Our businesses and results of operations may be adversely affected by market risk factors such as changes in interest and currency exchange rates, equity and futures prices, the implied volatility of interest rates, credit spreads and other economic and business factors. These market risks may adversely affect, among other things, (i) the value of our on- and off-balance sheet securities, trading assets, and other financial instruments, (ii) the cost of debt capital and our access to credit markets, (iii) the value of assets under management, which could reduce our fee income relating to those assets, (iv) customer allocation of capital among investment alternatives, (v) the volume of client activity in our trading operations, (vi) investment banking fees, and (vii) the general profitability and risk level of the transactions in which we engage. Any of these developments could have a significant adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
We use various models and strategies to assess and control our market risk exposures but those are subject to inherent limitations. Our models, which rely on historical trends and assumptions, may not be sufficiently predictive of future results due to limited historical patterns, extreme or unanticipated market movements and illiquidity, especially during severe market downturns or stress events. The models that we use to assess and control our market risk exposures also reflect assumptions about the degree of correlation or lack thereof among prices of various asset classes or other market indicators.
In times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances, such as the market conditions experienced in 2008 and 2009, previously uncorrelated indicators may become correlated, or previously correlated indicators may move in different directions. These types of market movements have at times limited the effectiveness of our hedging strategies and have caused us to incur significant losses, and they may do so in the future. These changes in correlation can be exacerbated where other market participants are using risk or trading models with assumptions or algorithms that are similar to ours. In these and other cases, it may be difficult to reduce our risk positions due to the

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activity of other market participants or widespread market dislocations, including circumstances where asset values are declining significantly or no market exists for certain assets. To the extent that we own securities that do not have an established liquid trading market or are otherwise subject to restrictions on sale or hedging, we may not be able to reduce our positions and therefore reduce our risk associated with such positions. In addition, challenging market conditions may also adversely affect our investment banking fees.
For additional information about market risk and our market risk management policies and procedures, see “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk” in Part II, Item 7A of this Form 10-K.
Further downgrades in the U.S. government's sovereign credit rating, or in the credit ratings of instruments issued, insured or guaranteed by related institutions, agencies or instrumentalities, could result in risks to Merrill Lynch and its credit ratings and general economic conditions that we are not able to predict.
On August 2, 2011, Moody's affirmed the U.S. government's existing sovereign rating, but revised the rating outlook to negative. On August 5, 2011, S&P downgraded the U.S. government's long-term sovereign credit rating to AA+ from AAA and stated that the outlook on the long-term rating is negative. On the same day, S&P affirmed its A-1+ short-term rating on the U.S. and removed it from CreditWatch negative. On November 28, 2011, Fitch affirmed its AAA long-term rating on the U.S., but changed the outlook from stable to negative. On the same day, Fitch affirmed its F1+ short-term rating on the U.S. All three rating agencies have indicated that they will continue to assess fiscal projections and consolidation measures, as well as the medium-term economic outlook for the U.S.
There continues to be the perceived risk of a sovereign credit ratings downgrade of the U.S. government, including the ratings of U.S. Treasury securities. It is foreseeable that the ratings and perceived creditworthiness of instruments issued, insured or guaranteed by institutions, agencies or instrumentalities directly linked to the U.S. government could also be correspondingly affected by any such downgrade. Instruments of this nature are key assets on the balance sheets of financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, and are widely used as collateral by financial institutions to meet their day-to-day cash flows in the short-term debt market. A downgrade of the sovereign credit ratings of the U.S. government and perceived creditworthiness of U.S. government-related obligations could impact our ability to obtain funding that is collateralized by affected instruments, as well as affecting the pricing of that funding when it is available. A downgrade may also adversely affect the market value of such instruments.
We cannot predict if, when or how any changes to the credit ratings or perceived creditworthiness of these organizations will affect economic conditions. Such ratings actions could result in a significant adverse impact to us. The credit rating agencies’ ratings for Bank of America (and consequently, Merrill Lynch) could be directly or indirectly impacted by a downgrade of the U.S. government’s sovereign rating because the credit ratings of large systemically important financial institutions currently incorporate a degree of uplift due to assumptions concerning government support.
A downgrade of the sovereign credit ratings of the U.S. government or the credit ratings of related institutions, agencies or instrumentalities would significantly exacerbate the other risks to which Merrill Lynch is subject and any related adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including those described under "Risk Factors - Credit Risk - We could suffer losses as a result of the actions of or deterioration in the commercial soundness of our counterparties and other financial services institutions," "Risk Factors - Market Risk - Our business and results of operations have been, and may continue to be, significantly adversely affected by changes in the levels of market volatility and by other financial or capital market conditions" and "Risk Factors - Liquidity Risk - Our liquidity, cash flows, financial condition and results of operations, and competitive position may be significantly adversely affected by the inability of us or Bank of America to access capital markets, or if there is an increase in our borrowing costs."

Uncertainty about the financial stability of several countries in the European Union ("EU"), the increasing risk that those countries may default on their sovereign debt and related stresses on financial markets, the Euro and the EU could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In 2011, the financial crisis in Europe continued, triggered by high sovereign budget deficits and rising direct and contingent sovereign debt in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, which created concerns about the ability of these EU countries to continue to service their sovereign debt obligations. These conditions impacted financial markets and

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resulted in credit ratings downgrades for, and high and volatile bond yields on, the sovereign debt of many EU countries. Certain European countries continue to experience varying degrees of financial stress, and yields on government-issued bonds in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have risen and remain volatile. Despite assistance packages to certain of these countries, the creation of a joint EU-IMF European Financial Stability Facility and additional expanded financial assistance to Greece, uncertainty over the outcome of the EU governments' financial support programs and worries about sovereign finances and the stability of the Euro and the EU persist. Market concerns over the direct and indirect exposure of certain European banks and insurers to these EU countries resulted in a widening of credit spreads and increased costs of funding for these financial institutions. While we have reduced our exposure to European financial institutions, the insolvency of one or more major European financial institutions could adversely impact financial markets and, consequently, our results of operations.

Risks and ongoing concerns about the debt crisis in Europe could have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, sovereign and non-sovereign debt in these countries and the financial condition of European financial institutions, and international financial institutions with exposure to the region, including us. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may continue to affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and residential mortgages, and housing prices, among other factors. There can be no assurance that the market disruptions in Europe, including the increased cost of funding for certain governments and financial institutions, will not spread, nor can there be any assurance that future assistance packages will be available or, even if provided, will be sufficient to stabilize the affected countries and markets in Europe or elsewhere. To the extent uncertainty regarding the European economic recovery continues to negatively impact consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, or should the EU enter a deep recession, both the U.S. economy and our business and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected. Global economic uncertainty, regulatory initiatives and reform have impacted, and will likely continue to impact, non-U.S. credit and trading portfolios. We are seeking to address this risk but there can be no assurance our efforts in this respect will be sufficient or successful. Our total sovereign and non-sovereign exposure to Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain was $2.7 billion at December 31, 2011. Our total net sovereign and non-sovereign exposure to these countries was $1.1 billion at December 31, 2011, after taking into account net credit default protection. At December 31, 2011, the fair value of net credit default protection purchased was $1.6 billion. Losses could still result because our credit protection contracts pay out only under certain scenarios.
For additional information regarding our direct sovereign and non-sovereign exposures in Europe, see “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Executive Overview - Other Events - European Union Sovereign Credit Risks" and “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk-Credit Risk Management” in Part II, Item 7A of this Form 10-K.
Declines in the value of certain of our assets could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.  We have a large portfolio of financial instruments, including, among others, certain corporate loans and loan commitments, loans held-for-sale, repurchase agreements, long-term deposits, trading assets and liabilities, derivatives assets and liabilities, available-for-sale securities and certain other assets and liabilities that we measure at fair value. We determine the fair values of these instruments based on the fair value hierarchy under applicable accounting guidance. The fair values of these financial instruments include adjustments for market liquidity, credit quality and other transaction-specific factors, where appropriate.
Gains or losses on these instruments can have a direct and significant impact on our results of operations, unless we have effectively hedged our exposures. Fair values may be impacted by declining values of the underlying assets or the prices at which observable market transactions occur and the continued availability of these transactions. The financial strength of counterparties, such as monolines, with whom we have economically hedged some of our exposure to these assets, also will affect the fair value of these assets. Sudden declines and significant volatility in the prices of assets may substantially curtail or eliminate the trading activity for these assets, which may make it very difficult to sell, hedge or value such assets. The inability to sell or effectively hedge assets reduces our ability to limit losses in such positions and the difficulty in valuing assets may increase our risk-weighted assets, which requires us to maintain additional capital and increases our funding costs.

Asset values also directly impact revenues in our asset management businesses. We receive asset-based

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management fees based on the value of our clients’ portfolios or investments in funds managed by us and, in some cases, we also receive incentive fees based on increases in the value of such investments. Declines in asset values can reduce the value of our clients’ portfolios or fund assets, which in turn can result in lower fees earned for managing such assets.
For additional information about fair value measurements, see Note 4 and Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Regulatory and Legal Risk
Government measures to regulate the financial services industry, including the Financial Reform Act, either individually, in combination or in the aggregate, have increased and will continue to increase our compliance costs and could require us to change certain of our business practices, impose significant additional costs on us, limit the products that we offer, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities in an efficient manner, require us to increase our capital, impact the value of assets that we hold, significantly reduce our revenues or otherwise materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.  As a financial institution, we are heavily regulated at the state, federal and international levels. As a result of the 2008-2009 financial crisis and related global economic downturn, we have faced and expect to continue to face increased public and legislative scrutiny as well as stricter and more comprehensive regulation of our businesses. These regulatory and legislative measures, either individually, in combination or in the aggregate, could require us to further change certain of our business practices, impose significant additional costs on us, limit the products that we offer, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities in an efficient manner, require us to increase our capital, impact the value of assets that we hold, significantly reduce our revenues or otherwise materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.
On October 11, 2011, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) and the SEC, four of the five regulatory agencies charged with promulgating regulations implementing limitations on proprietary trading as well as the sponsorship of or investment in hedge funds and private equity funds (the “Volcker Rule”) established by the Financial Reform Act, released for comment proposed implementing regulations. On January 11, 2012, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”), the fifth agency, released for comment its proposed regulations under the Volcker Rule. The proposed regulations include clarifications to the definition of proprietary trading and distinctions between permitted and prohibited activities. The comment period for the first regulations proposed ended on February 13, 2012 and the comment period for the CFTC regulations will end in March 2012.

The statutory provisions of the Volcker Rule will become effective on July 21, 2012, whether or not the final regulations are adopted, and it gives certain financial institutions two years from the effective date, with opportunities for additional extensions, to bring activities and investments into compliance. Although Merrill Lynch exited its stand-alone proprietary trading business as of June 30, 2011 in anticipation of the Volcker Rule and to further our initiative to optimize our balance sheet, the ultimate impact of the Volcker Rule on us remains uncertain. However, based on the content of the proposed regulations, it is possible that the implementation of the Volcker Rule could limit or restrict our remaining trading activities. Implementation of the Volcker Rule could also limit or restrict our ability to sponsor and hold ownership interests in hedge funds, private equity funds and other subsidiary operations. Additionally, implementation of the Volcker Rule could increase our operational and compliance costs, reduce our trading revenues and adversely affect our results of operations. The date by which final regulations will be issued is uncertain.
Additionally, the Financial Reform Act includes measures to broaden the scope of derivative instruments subject to regulation by requiring clearing and exchange trading of certain derivatives; imposing new capital, margin, reporting, registration and business conduct requirements for certain market participants; and imposing position limits on certain OTC derivatives. The Financial Reform Act grants the CFTC and the SEC substantial new authority and requires numerous rulemakings by these agencies. The Financial Reform Act required regulators to promulgate the rulemakings necessary to implement these regulations by July 16, 2011. However, the rulemaking process was not completed as of that date, and is not expected to conclude until well into 2012. Further, the regulators granted temporary relief from certain requirements that would have taken effect on July 16, 2011 absent any rulemaking. The SEC temporary relief is effective until final rules relevant to each requirement become

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effective. The CFTC temporary relief is effective until the earlier of July 16, 2012 or the date on which final rules relevant to each requirement become effective. The ultimate impact of these derivatives regulations, and the time it will take to comply, continue to remain uncertain. The final regulations will impose additional operational and compliance costs on us and may require us to restructure certain businesses, thereby negatively impacting our revenues and results of operations.

Similarly, in the U.K., the FSA has issued proposed rules requiring the submission of significant information about certain U.K. incorporated subsidiaries (including information on intra-group dependencies and legal entity separation) to allow the FSA to develop resolution plans. As a result of the FSA review, we could be required to take certain actions over the next several years, which could impose operational costs and potentially could result in the restructuring of certain businesses and subsidiaries.
Many of the provisions under the Financial Reform Act have begun to be phased in or will be phased in over the next several months or years and will be subject both to further rulemaking and the discretion of applicable regulatory bodies. The Financial Reform Act will continue to have a significant and negative impact on our earnings through revenue reductions, higher costs and new restrictions. The ultimate impact of the Financial Reform Act on our businesses and results of operations will depend on regulatory interpretation and rulemaking, as well as the success of any of our actions to mitigate the negative earnings impact of certain provisions.
Changes in the structure of the GSEs and the relationship among the GSEs, the government and the private markets, or the conversion of the current conservatorship of the GSEs into receivership, could adversely impact certain of our operations. Each GSE is currently in a conservatorship, with its primary regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the "FHFA"), acting as conservator. During these conservatorships the FHFA may
increasingly converge certain risk management and other standards and practices of each enterprise, which could result in a more uniform market for delivering agency conforming mortgage loans. We cannot predict if, when or how the conservatorships will end, or any associated changes to the GSEs' business structure that could result. We also cannot predict whether the conservatorships will end in receivership. There are several proposed approaches to reform the GSEs which, if enacted, could change the structure of the GSEs and the relationship among the GSEs, the government and the private markets, including the trading markets for agency conforming mortgage loans and markets for mortgage-related securities in which we participate. We cannot predict the prospects for the enactment, timing or content of legislative or rulemaking proposals regarding the future status of the GSEs. Accordingly, there continues to be uncertainty regarding the future of the GSEs, including whether they will continue to exist in their current form. GSE reform, if enacted, could adversely impact certain of our operations.
We face substantial potential legal liability and significant regulatory action, which could have material adverse effects on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations or cause significant reputational harm to us.  We face significant legal risks in our businesses, and the volume of claims and amount of damages and penalties claimed in litigation and regulatory proceedings against us and other financial institutions remain high and are increasing. Increased litigation costs, substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have material adverse effects on our financial condition and results of operations or cause significant reputational harm to us, which in turn could adversely impact our business prospects. In addition, we continue to face increased litigation risk and regulatory scrutiny. We have continued to experience increased litigation and other disputes with counterparties regarding relative rights and responsibilities. Consumers, clients and other counterparties have grown more litigious. Our experience with certain regulatory authorities suggests a migration towards an increasing supervisory focus on enforcement, including in connection with alleged violations of law and customer harm. The current environment of additional regulation, increased regulatory compliance burdens, and enhanced regulatory enforcement, combined with ongoing uncertainty related to the continuing evolution of the regulatory environment, has resulted in significant operational and compliance costs and may limit our ability to continue providing certain products and services.
These litigation and regulatory matters and any related settlements could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations. They could also negatively impact our reputation. For information concerning certain litigation-related expenses recognized for 2011 and 2010, the estimated aggregate range of possible losses in excess of the accrued liability (if any) related to litigation matters (where an estimate is possible) at December 31, 2011, as well as a further discussion of litigation risks, see Note 14 to the Consolidated

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Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
Changes in governmental fiscal and monetary policy could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.  Our businesses and earnings are affected by domestic and international fiscal and monetary policy. The Federal Reserve regulates the supply of money and credit in the U.S. and its policies determine in large part our cost of funds for lending, investing and capital raising activities and the return we earn on those loans and investments, both of which affect our net interest revenue. The actions of the Federal Reserve also can materially affect the value of financial instruments and other assets, such as debt securities, and its policies also can affect our borrowers, potentially increasing the risk that they may fail to repay their loans. Our businesses and earnings are also affected by the fiscal or other policies that are adopted by the U.S. government, various U.S. regulatory authorities and non-U.S. governments and regulatory authorities. Changes in domestic and international fiscal and monetary policies are beyond our control and difficult to predict, but could have an adverse impact on our capital requirements and the costs of running our businesses, in turn adversely impacting our financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in U.S. and non-U.S. tax and other laws and regulations could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. The U.S. Congress and the Administration have signaled growing interest in reforming the U.S. corporate income tax. While the timing of such reform is unclear, possible approaches include lowering the 35% corporate tax rate, modifying the taxation of income earned outside of the U.S. and limiting or eliminating various other deductions, tax credits and/or other tax preferences. It is not possible at this time to quantify either the one-time impact from remeasuring deferred tax assets and liabilities that might result upon enactment of tax reform or the ongoing impact reform might have on income tax expense, but either of these impacts could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, the income from certain non-U.S. subsidiaries has not been subject to U.S. income tax as a result of long-standing deferral provisions applicable to income that is derived in the active conduct of a banking and financing business (active finance income). The U.S. Congress has extended the application of these deferral provisions several times, most recently in 2010. These provisions now are set to expire for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2012. Absent an extension of these provisions, active financing income earned by certain non-U.S. subsidiaries will generally be subject to a tax provision that considers incremental U.S. income tax. The impact of the expiration of these provisions would depend upon the amount, composition and geographic mix of our future earnings.
Other countries have also proposed and, in some cases, adopted certain regulatory changes targeted at financial institutions or that otherwise affect us. The EU has adopted increased capital requirements and the U.K. has (i) increased liquidity requirements for local financial institutions, including regulated U.K. subsidiaries of non-U.K. bank holding companies and other financial institutions as well as branches of non-U.K. banks located in the U.K; (ii) adopted a Bank Tax Levy which will apply to the aggregate balance sheet of branches and subsidiaries of non-U.K. banks and banking groups operating in the U.K.; and (iii) proposed the creation and production of recovery and resolution plans by U.K.-regulated entities.
On July 19, 2011, the U.K. 2011 Finance Bill was enacted, which reduced the corporate income tax rate by one percent to 26% beginning on April 1, 2011, and then to 25% effective April 1, 2012. These rate reductions will favorably affect income tax expense on future U.K. earnings but also required us to remeasure our U.K. net deferred tax assets using the lower tax rates. The income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2011 included a $774 million charge for the remeasurement. If U.K. corporate income tax rates were to be reduced to 23% by 2014, as suggested in U.K. Treasury announcements and assuming no change in the deferred tax asset balance, a charge to income tax expense of approximately $400 million for each one percent reduction in the rate would result in each period of enactment (for a total of approximately $800 million). We are also monitoring other international legislative proposals that could materially impact us, such as changes to corporate income tax laws. Currently, in the U.K., net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) have an indefinite life. Were the U.K. taxing authorities to introduce limitations on the future utilization of NOLs and we were unable to document our continued ability to fully utilize our NOLs, we would be required to establish a valuation allowance by a charge to income tax expense. Depending upon the nature of the limitations, such a charge could be material to our results of operations in the period of enactment.

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Risk of the Competitive Environment in Which We Operate
We face significant and increasing competition in the financial services industry.  We operate in a highly competitive environment. Over time, there has been substantial consolidation among companies in the financial services industry, and this trend accelerated in recent years. This trend has also hastened the globalization of the securities and financial services markets. We will continue to experience intensified competition as consolidation and globalization of the financial services industry may produce larger, better-capitalized and more geographically diverse companies that are capable of offering a wider array of financial products and services at more competitive prices. To the extent we expand into new business areas and new geographic regions, we may face competitors with more experience and more established relationships with clients, regulators and industry participants in the relevant market, which could adversely affect our ability to compete. In addition, technological advances and the growth of e-commerce have made it possible for non-depository institutions to offer products and services that traditionally were banking products, and for financial institutions to compete with technology companies in providing electronic and internet-based financial solutions. Increased competition may negatively affect our results of operations by creating pressure to lower prices on our products and services and reducing market share.
Damage to our reputation could significantly harm our businesses, including our competitive position and business prospects.  Our ability to attract and retain customers, clients, investors and employees is impacted by our reputation. Public perception of us and others in the financial services industry appeared to decline in 2011. We continue to face increased public and regulatory scrutiny resulting from the financial crisis and economic downturn, as well as our acquisition by Bank of America and the suitability or reasonableness of recommending particular trading or investment strategies.
Significant harm to our reputation can also arise from other sources, including indirectly as a result of actions by Bank of America or damage to its reputation, employee misconduct, litigation or regulatory outcomes, failing to deliver minimum or required standards of service and quality, compliance failures, unethical behavior, unintended disclosure of confidential information, and the activities of our clients, customers and counterparties, including vendors. Actions by the financial services industry generally or by certain members or individuals in the industry also can significantly adversely affect our reputation.

We are subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protections and other matters.
Principles concerning the appropriate scope of consumer and commercial privacy vary considerably in different jurisdictions, and regulatory and public expectations regarding the definition and scope of consumer and commercial privacy may remain fluid into the future. It is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied by various jurisdictions in a manner that is inconsistent with our current or future practices, or that is inconsistent with one another. We face regulatory, reputational and operational risks if personal, confidential or proprietary information of customers or clients in our possession is mishandled or misused.
We could suffer significant reputational harm if we fail to properly identify and manage potential conflicts of interest. Management of potential conflicts of interest has become increasingly complex as we expand our business activities through more numerous transactions, obligations and interests with and among our clients. The failure to adequately address, or the perceived failure to adequately address, conflicts of interest could affect the willingness of clients to deal with us, or give rise to litigation or enforcement actions, which could adversely affect our businesses.

Our actual or perceived failure to address these and other issues gives rise to reputational risk that could cause significant harm to us and our business prospects, including failure to properly address operational risks. Failure to appropriately address any of these issues could also give rise to additional regulatory restrictions, legal risks and reputational harm, which could, among other consequences, increase the size and number of litigation claims and damages asserted or subject us to enforcement actions, fines and penalties and cause us to incur related costs and expenses.
Our ability to attract and retain qualified employees is critical to the success of our businesses and failure to do so could adversely affect our business prospects, including our competitive position and results of operations.  Our performance is heavily dependent on the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. Competition for qualified personnel within the financial services industry and from businesses outside the financial services industry has

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been, and is expected to continue to be, intense. Our competitors include non-U.S.-based institutions and institutions otherwise not subject to compensation and hiring regulations imposed on U.S. institutions and financial institutions in particular. The difficulty we face in competing for key personnel is exacerbated in emerging markets, where we are often competing for qualified employees with entities that may have a significantly greater presence or more extensive experience in the region.
In order to attract and retain qualified personnel, we must provide market-level compensation. As a subsidiary of Bank of America, we may be subject to limitations on compensation practices (which may or may not affect our competitors) by regulators in the U.S. or around the world. Any future limitations on executive compensation imposed by legislation or regulation could adversely affect our ability to attract and maintain qualified employees. Furthermore, a substantial portion of our annual bonus compensation paid to our senior employees has in recent years taken the form of long-term equity awards. The value of long-term equity awards to senior employees generally has been negatively affected by the significant decline in the market price of Bank of America's common stock. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain qualified individuals, our business prospects, including our competitive position and results of operations, could be adversely affected.
In addition, if we fail to retain the wealth advisors that we employ in our wealth and investment management business, particularly those with significant client relationships, such failure could result in a significant loss of clients or the withdrawal of significant client assets. Any such loss or withdrawal could adversely impact our wealth and investment management business activities and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We may not be able to achieve expected cost savings from cost-saving initiatives, including from Project New BAC, or in accordance with currently anticipated time frames. We are currently engaged in numerous efforts to achieve certain cost savings, including, among other things, Project New BAC.
Project New BAC is a two-phase, enterprise-wide initiative to simplify and streamline workflows and processes, align businesses and costs more closely with Bank of America's overall strategic plan and operating principles, and increase revenues. Phase 1 focused on Bank of America's consumer businesses and related support, technology and operations functions. Phase 2 focuses on businesses and related support, technology and operations functions not subject to evaluation in Phase 1. All aspects of Project New BAC are expected to be implemented by the end of 2014.
We may be unable to fully realize the cost savings and other anticipated benefits from our cost saving initiatives, or in accordance with currently anticipated timeframes.
Our inability to adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards and consumer preferences could harm our businesses.  Our success depends, in part, on our ability to adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards. There is increasing pressure by competitors to provide products and services at lower prices. This can reduce our revenues from our fee-based products and services. In addition, the widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, could require us to incur substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services. We might not be successful in developing or introducing new products and services, responding or adapting to changes in consumer spending and saving habits, achieving market acceptance of our products and services, or sufficiently developing and maintaining loyal customers.
Risks Related to Risk Management
Our risk management framework may not be effective in mitigating risk and reducing the potential for significant losses.  Our risk management framework is designed to minimize risk and loss to us. We seek to identify, measure, monitor, report and control our exposure to the types of risk to which we are subject, including strategic, credit, market, liquidity, compliance, operational and reputational risks, among others. While we employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and mitigation techniques, those techniques are inherently limited because they cannot anticipate the existence or future development of currently unanticipated or unknown risks. Recent economic conditions, heightened legislative and regulatory scrutiny of the financial services industry and increases in the overall complexity of our operations, among other developments, have resulted in a heightened level of risk for us. Accordingly, we could suffer losses as a result of our failure to properly anticipate and manage these risks, including all correlations and downstream secondary or follow-on effects that occur.

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A failure in or breach of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with which we do business, including as a result of cyber attacks, could disrupt our businesses, result in the disclosure or misuse of confidential or proprietary information, damage our reputation, increase our costs and cause losses. Any such failure also could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Our business is highly dependent on our ability to process, record and monitor, on a continuous basis, a large number of transactions, many of which are highly complex, across numerous and diverse markets in many currencies. The potential for operational risk exposure exists throughout our organization, including losses resulting from unauthorized trades by any employees.
Integral to our performance is the continued efficacy of our internal processes, systems, relationships with third parties and the vast array of employees and key executives in our day-to-day and ongoing operations. With regard to the physical infrastructure and systems that support our operations, we have taken measures to implement backup systems and other safeguards, but our ability to conduct business may be adversely affected by any significant and widespread disruption to our infrastructure or systems. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our ability to process these transactions or provide these services. There could be sudden increases in customer transaction volume; electrical or telecommunications outages; natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes; disease pandemics; events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and cyber attacks. We continuously update these systems to support our operations and growth. This updating entails significant costs and creates risks associated with implementing new systems and integrating them with existing ones.
Information security risks for large financial institutions such as Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have significantly increased in recent years in part because of the proliferation of new technologies, the use of the Internet and telecommunications technologies to conduct financial transactions, and the increased sophistication and activities of organized crime, hackers, terrorists and other external parties, including foreign state actors. Our operations rely on the secure processing, transmission and storage of confidential, proprietary and other information in our computer systems and networks. We rely on our digital technologies, computer and email systems, software, and networks to conduct our operations. In addition, to access our products and services, our customers may use personal smartphones, tablet PCs, and other mobile devices that are beyond our control systems. Our technologies, systems, networks, and our customers' devices have been subject to, and are likely to continue to be the target of, cyber attacks, computer viruses, malicious code, phishing attacks or information security breaches that could result in the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss or destruction of our or our customers' confidential, proprietary and other information, or otherwise disrupt our or our customers' or other third parties' business operations. Because of our prominence, we believe that such attacks may continue.

Although to date we have not experienced any material losses relating to cyber attacks or other information security breaches, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer such losses in the future. Our risk and exposure to these matters remains heightened because of, among other things, the evolving nature of these threats, the prominent size and scale of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch and their roles in the financial services industry, their expanded geographic footprint and international presence, the outsourcing of some of their business operations, the continued uncertain global economic environment, and system and customer account conversions. As a result, cybersecurity and the continued development and enhancement of our controls, processes and practices designed to protect our systems, computers, software, data and networks from attack, damage or unauthorized access remain a priority for us. As cyber threats continue to evolve, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities.
In addition, we also face the risk of operational failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the third parties with which we do business or that facilitate our business activities, including clearing agents, exchanges, clearing houses or other financial intermediaries we use to facilitate our securities transactions. In recent years, there has been significant consolidation among clearing agents, exchanges and clearing houses and increased interconnectivity of multiple financial institutions with central agents, exchanges and clearing houses. This consolidation and interconnectivity increases the risk of operational failure, on both individual and industry-wide

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bases, as disparate complex systems need to be integrated, often on an accelerated basis. Any such failure, termination or constraint could adversely affect our ability to effect transactions, service our clients, manage our exposure to risk or expand our businesses and could have a significant adverse impact on our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

Disruptions or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support our business and customers, or cyber attacks or security breaches of the networks, systems or devices that our customers use to access our products and services could result in the loss of customers and business opportunities, legal liability, regulatory fines, penalties or intervention, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensatory costs, and additional compliance costs, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risk of Being an International Business
We are subject to numerous political, economic, market, reputational, operational, legal, regulatory and other risks in the non-U.S. jurisdictions in which we operate which could adversely impact our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.  We do business throughout the world, including in developing regions of the world commonly known as emerging markets. Our businesses and revenues derived from non-U.S. jurisdictions are subject to risk of loss from currency fluctuations, social or judicial instability, changes in governmental policies or policies of central banks, expropriation, nationalization and/or confiscation of assets, price controls, capital controls, exchange controls, other restrictive actions, unfavorable political and diplomatic developments and changes in legislation. These risks are especially acute in emerging markets. Many non-U.S. jurisdictions in which we do business have been negatively impacted by recessionary conditions. While a number of these jurisdictions are showing signs of recovery, others continue to experience increasing levels of stress. In addition, the increasing potential risk of default on sovereign debt in some non-U.S. jurisdictions could expose us to substantial losses. Risks in one country can affect our operations in another country or countries, including our operations in the U.S. As a result, any such unfavorable conditions or developments could have an adverse impact on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.
Our non-U.S. businesses are also subject to extensive regulation by various non-U.S. regulators, including governments, securities exchanges, central banks and other regulatory bodies, in the jurisdictions in which those businesses operate. In many countries, the laws and regulations applicable to the financial services and securities industries are uncertain and evolving, and it may be difficult for us to determine the exact requirements of local laws in every market or manage our relationships with multiple regulators in various jurisdictions. Our inability to remain in compliance with local laws in a particular market and manage our relationships with regulators could have a significant and adverse effect not only on our businesses in that market but also on our reputation generally.
We also invest or trade in the securities of corporations and governments located in non-U.S. jurisdictions, including emerging markets. Revenues from the trading of non-U.S. securities may be subject to negative fluctuations as a result of the above factors. Furthermore, the impact of these fluctuations could be magnified because non-U.S. trading markets, particularly in emerging market countries, are generally smaller, less liquid and more volatile than U.S. trading markets.
We are subject to geopolitical risks, including acts or threats of terrorism, and actions taken by the U.S. or other governments in response thereto and/or military conflicts that could adversely affect business and economic conditions abroad as well as in the U.S.
Risk from Accounting Changes
Changes in accounting standards or inaccurate estimates or assumptions in the application of accounting policies could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.  Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. Some of these policies require use of estimates and assumptions that may affect the reported value of our assets or liabilities and results of operations and are critical because they require management to make difficult, subjective and complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain. If those assumptions, estimates or judgments were incorrectly made, we could be required to correct and restate prior-period financial statements.

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Accounting standard-setters and those who interpret the accounting standards (such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the SEC and our independent registered public accounting firm) may also amend or even reverse their previous interpretations or positions on how various standards should be applied. These changes can be difficult to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in Merrill Lynch needing to revise and republish prior-period financial statements. For further information on some of our critical accounting policies and standards and recent accounting changes, see Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Risk of Being a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary
We are a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America and therefore are subject to strategic decisions of Bank of America and affected by Bank of America’s performance.  We are fundamentally affected by our relationship with Bank of America. As a direct wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America, we are subject to a wide range of possible strategic decisions that Bank of America may make from time to time. Those strategic decisions could include the level and types of financing and other support made available to us by Bank of America. In addition, circumstances and events affecting Bank of America can significantly affect us. For example, the primary drivers of our credit ratings are Bank of America’s credit ratings, and when rating agencies take actions regarding Bank of America’s credit ratings and outlooks, they generally take the same actions with respect to our ratings and outlooks. Also, we have several borrowing arrangements and a globally coordinated funding strategy with Bank of America. Significant changes in Bank of America’s strategy or its relationship with us could have a material adverse effect on our business. Material adverse changes in the performance of Bank of America or its other subsidiaries could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. We are indirectly exposed, therefore, to many of the risks to which Bank of America is directly exposed. Bank of America has not assumed or guaranteed the long-term debt that was issued or guaranteed by ML & Co. or its subsidiaries prior to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America, a bank holding company that is also a financial holding company, we are subject to the oversight of, and inspection by, the Federal Reserve. If Bank of America does not comply with regulatory requirements applicable to banking institutions with respect to regulatory capital, capital ratios and liquidity and required increases in the foregoing, our liquidity would be adversely affected. In order to comply with such requirements, Bank of America may be required to liquidate company assets, among other actions. Our activities are limited to those that are permissible for Bank of America under applicable laws and regulations. As a financial holding company, Bank of America (directly or through its subsidiaries) may engage in activities that are “financial in nature.” Bank of America’s status as a financial holding company requires, among other conditions, that each of its subsidiary insured depository institutions be well-capitalized and well-managed. Failure to satisfy these conditions may result in the Federal Reserve limiting the activities of Bank of America, which thereby could restrict our current business activities, require divestiture of certain of our assets and operations or limit potential future strategic plans.


Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.

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Item 2.
Properties

As of December 31, 2011, our principal offices and other materially important properties consisted of the following:

Facility Name
Location
General Character of the Physical Property
Property Status
Property Sq. Ft. (1)
4 World Financial Center
New York, NY
34 Story Building
Leased
1,806,365
2 World Financial Center
New York, NY
44 Story Building
Leased
504,896
Hopewell Campus
Hopewell, NJ
8 Building Campus with 4 Ancillary Buildings
Owned
1,787,811
Jacksonville Campus
Jacksonville, FL
4 Building Campus
Owned
577,402
Merrill Lynch Financial Center
London, UK
4 Building Campus
Leased
568,307
Nihonbashi 1-Chome Building
Tokyo, Japan
24 Story Building
Leased
263,723
 
 
 
 
 
(1) For leased properties, Property Sq. Ft. represents the square footage occupied by Merrill Lynch.

Our principal executive offices are located at Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is owned by one of Bank of America's subsidiaries. In addition, we have employees located at Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York, New York.

We believe our owned and leased properties are adequate for our business needs and are well maintained. We continue to evaluate our owned and leased real estate and may determine from time to time that certain of our premises and facilities, or ownership structures, are no longer necessary for our operations. In connection therewith, we are evaluating the sale or sale / leaseback of certain properties and we may incur costs in connection with any such transactions.

Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
Refer to "Litigation and Regulatory Matters" in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Item 4.
Mine Safety Disclosures

None.


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PART II

Item 5.
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
ML & Co. made no purchases of its common stock during the year ended December 31, 2011. There were 1,000 shares of ML & Co. common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2011, all of which were held by Bank of America Corporation.
Dividends Per Common Share
As of the date of this report, Bank of America is the sole holder of the outstanding common stock of ML & Co. There is no trading market for ML & Co. common stock. No cash dividends were declared or paid for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010. With the exception of regulatory restrictions on subsidiaries’ abilities to pay dividends, there were no restrictions on ML & Co.’s present ability to pay dividends on common stock, other than ML & Co.’s obligation to make payments on its junior subordinated debt related to trust preferred securities, and the governing provisions of Delaware General Corporation Law.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
There are no equity securities of ML & Co. that are authorized for issuance under any equity compensation plans. Refer to Note 15 and Note 16 of the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on employee benefit and equity compensation plans.

Item 6.
Selected Financial Data
Not required pursuant to General Instruction I (2).

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Item 7.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Forward-Looking Statements

This report on Form 10-K, the documents that it incorporates by reference and the documents into which it may be incorporated by reference may contain, and from time to time Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (“ML & Co. and, together with its subsidiaries, “Merrill Lynch,” the “Company,” "we,” “our” or “us”) and its management may make certain statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this report, “we,” “us” and “our” may refer to ML & Co. individually, ML & Co. and its subsidiaries, or certain of ML & Co.'s subsidiaries or affiliates. These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. Forward-looking statements often use words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “targets,” “intends,” “plans,” “goal” and other similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “may,” “might,” “should,” “would” and “could.” The forward-looking statements made represent the current expectations, plans or forecasts of Merrill Lynch regarding its future results and revenues and future business and economic conditions more generally, including statements concerning: the potential impacts of the European Union ("EU") sovereign debt crisis; the impact of the United Kingdom (the "U.K.") 2011 Finance Bill and review by the U.K. Financial Services Authority; the charge to income for each one percent reduction in the U.K. corporate income tax rate; the planned schedule and details for implementation and completion of, and the expected impact from, Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Project New BAC, including expected reductions in employment levels; the belief that the representations and warranties provision recorded in the year ended December 31, 2011 has provided for a substantial portion of Merrill Lynch's non-government sponsored enterprises ("GSEs") repurchase claims; the estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties exposure as of December 31, 2011 of up to $0.5 billion over existing accruals; Merrill Lynch's intention to vigorously contest any requests for repurchase for which it concludes that a valid basis does not exist; the net recovery projections for credit default swaps with monoline financial guarantors; the impact on economic conditions and Merrill Lynch arising from further changes to the credit rating or perceived creditworthiness of instruments issued, insured or guaranteed by the U.S. government, or of institutions, agencies or instrumentalities directly linked to the U.S. government; the realizability of deferred tax assets prior to expiration of any carryforward periods; credit trends and conditions, including credit losses, credit reserves, charge-offs, delinquency trends and nonperforming asset levels; investment banking fees; sales and trading revenues; liquidity; the revenue impact resulting from, and any mitigation actions taken in response to, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Financial Reform Act”), including, but not limited to, the Volcker Rule; that it is our objective to maintain high-quality credit ratings; the estimated range of possible loss from and the impact on Merrill Lynch of various legal proceedings discussed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements; our estimates of contributions to be made to pension plans; our interest rate risk management strategies and models; our trading risk management processes; and other matters relating to Merrill Lynch. The foregoing is not an exclusive list of all forward-looking statements we make. These statements are not guarantees of future results or performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict and often are beyond our control. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, any of these forward-looking statements.

You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement and should consider the following uncertainties and risks, as well as the risks and uncertainties more fully discussed elsewhere in this report, under Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this report, and in any of ML & Co.'s subsequent Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filings: Merrill Lynch's ability to resolve its representations and warranties obligations, and any related servicing, securities, fraud, indemnity or other claims with monolines, and private-label investors and other investors, including those monolines and investors from whom Merrill Lynch has not yet received claims or with whom it has not yet reached any resolutions; the identification and effectiveness of any initiatives to mitigate the negative impact of the Financial Reform Act; and decisions to downsize, sell or close units or otherwise change the business mix of Merrill Lynch.

Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Merrill Lynch undertakes no obligation to

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update any forward-looking statement to reflect the impact of circumstances or events that arise after the date the forward-looking statement was made.

The Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements referred to in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") are incorporated by reference into MD&A. Certain prior-period amounts have been reclassified in order to conform with the current year's presentation.

Introduction

Merrill Lynch was founded in 1914 and became a publicly traded company on June 23, 1971. In 1973, the holding company ML & Co. was created. Through our subsidiaries, we are one of the world's leading capital markets, advisory and wealth management companies. We are a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes, and we serve as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide.

Bank of America Acquisition and Basis of Presentation

On January 1, 2009, Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America Corporation (“Bank of America”) through the merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America with and into ML & Co. with ML & Co. continuing as the surviving corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America. Upon completion of the acquisition, each outstanding share of ML & Co. common stock was converted into 0.8595 shares of Bank of America common stock. As of the completion of the acquisition, ML & Co. Series 1 through Series 8 preferred stock were converted into Bank of America preferred stock with substantially identical terms to the corresponding series of Merrill Lynch preferred stock (except for additional voting rights provided to the Bank of America securities). The Merrill Lynch 9.00% Mandatory Convertible Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock, Series 2, and 9.00% Mandatory Convertible Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock, Series 3 that remained issued and outstanding subsequent to the completion of the acquisition were automatically converted into Bank of America common stock on October 15, 2010 in accordance with the terms of these securities.

As discussed below, on November 1, 2010, Banc of America Securities Holdings Corporation (“BASH”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America, merged into ML & Co., with ML & Co. as the surviving corporation (the “BASH Merger”). In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 805-10, Business Combinations, Merrill Lynch's Consolidated Financial Statements appearing in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K include the historical results of BASH and subsidiaries as if the BASH Merger had occurred as of January 1, 2009, the date at which both entities were first under the common control of Bank of America. Merrill Lynch has recorded the assets and liabilities acquired in connection with the BASH Merger at their historical carrying values.

Merger With BASH

As a result of the BASH Merger, Banc of America Securities LLC (“BAS”), a wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of BASH, became a wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of ML & Co. Subsequently, on November 1, 2010, BAS was merged into Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”), a wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of ML & Co., with MLPF&S as the surviving corporation in the merger (the “MLPF&S Merger”). As a result of the MLPF&S Merger, MLPF&S remained a direct wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of ML & Co. and an indirect wholly-owned broker-dealer subsidiary of Bank of America.

Business Segments

Pursuant to ASC 280, Segment Reporting, operating segments represent components of an enterprise for which separate financial information is available that is regularly evaluated by the chief operating decision maker in determining how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The business activities of Merrill Lynch are included within certain of the operating segments of Bank of America. Detailed financial information related to the operations of Merrill Lynch, however, is not provided to Merrill Lynch's chief operating decision maker. As a result, Merrill Lynch does not contain any identifiable operating segments under Segment Reporting, and therefore the

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financial information of Merrill Lynch is presented as a single segment.

Form 10-K Presentation

As a result of the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, certain information is not required in this Form 10-K as permitted by General Instruction I (2) of Form 10-K. We have also abbreviated MD&A as permitted by General Instruction I (2).


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EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

We reported a net loss of $1.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011 as compared with net earnings of $3.8 billion in the year ended December 31, 2010. Revenues, net of interest expense (“net revenues”) for 2011 were $24.3 billion compared with $27.8 billion in 2010. Our pre-tax loss was $4.7 billion in 2011 compared with pre-tax earnings of $3.9 billion in 2010.

Our results for the year ended December 31, 2011 primarily reflected lower principal transactions revenues associated with our trading activities, lower other revenues, and higher non-interest expenses, including higher intercompany service fees from Bank of America and higher compensation and benefits expense.

Our results for the year ended December 31, 2011 were also adversely affected by a $2.7 billion representations and warranties provision. On June 28, 2011, Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries entered into a settlement agreement (that is subject to final court approval and certain other conditions) to resolve, among other claims, all outstanding and potential claims related to alleged representations and warranties breaches (including repurchase claims) with respect to a number of non-GSE residential mortgage-backed securitization trusts. As a result of the experience gained by Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch affiliates from this settlement agreement, Merrill Lynch determined that it had sufficient experience to record the $2.7 billion liability for representations and warranties related to its repurchase exposure on private-label securitizations during the quarter ended June 30, 2011. See “Off-Balance Sheet Exposures - Representations and Warranties” for further information.

The declines in net earnings and net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2011 were partially offset by higher managed account and other fee-based revenues. There was also an increase in revenues associated with the valuation of certain of our long-term debt liabilities as compared with the prior year. During the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded net gains of $2.0 billion due to the impact of the widening of Merrill Lynch's credit spreads on the carrying value of certain of our long-term debt liabilities, primarily structured notes, while in the year ended December 31, 2010, we recorded net losses of $0.1 billion due to the narrowing of our credit spreads.

Our net loss applicable to our common shareholder was $1.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with net earnings of $3.6 billion in the prior year. On October 15, 2010, all of ML & Co.'s outstanding Series 2 and Series 3 Mandatory Convertible Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock automatically converted into Bank of America common stock in accordance with the terms of those securities. Immediately upon conversion, dividends on such shares of preferred stock ceased to accrue, the rights of holders of such preferred stock ceased, and the persons entitled to receive the shares of Bank of America common stock were treated for all purposes as having become the record and beneficial owners of shares of Bank of America common stock. As a result of the conversion, there were no preferred stock dividends recorded during the year ended December 31, 2011. Preferred stock dividends of $134 million were recorded in the year ended December 31, 2010. See Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.

Transactions with Bank of America

We have entered into various transactions with Bank of America, including transactions in connection with certain sales and trading and financing activities as well as the allocation of certain shared services. Total net revenues and non-interest expenses related to transactions with Bank of America for the year ended December 31, 2011 were $1.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. Such net revenues and non-interest expenses for the year ended December 31, 2010 were $906 million and $807 million, respectively. Net revenues and non-interest expenses for the year ended December 31, 2011 reflect increased intercompany service fee revenues and expenses from Bank of America resulting from the integration of Bank of America's and Merrill Lynch's methodologies for allocating revenues and expenses associated with shared services to their subsidiaries. The net revenues related to transactions with Bank of America for the year ended December 31, 2010 included a gain of $280 million from the sale of approximately $11 billion of available-for-sale securities to Bank of America. These transfers were made to enable Bank of America or

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its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries to more efficiently manage the existing portfolio of similar available-for-sale securities. In addition, as discussed below, net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2010 included a gain of approximately $600 million from the sale of Bloomberg Inc. notes to Bank of America. See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.

Merger with BASH

See “Introduction - Merger With BASH” for further information on this transaction.

Sale of Bloomberg Inc. Notes

In July 2008, Merrill Lynch sold its 20% ownership stake in Bloomberg, L.P. to Bloomberg Inc. A portion of the consideration we received was notes issued by Bloomberg Inc., the general partner and owner of substantially all of Bloomberg, L.P. The notes represent senior unsecured obligations of Bloomberg Inc. In December 2010, Merrill Lynch sold the Bloomberg Inc. notes to a subsidiary of Bank of America at fair value. As a result of the sale, we recorded a gain of approximately $600 million, which is included within Other revenues in the Consolidated Statement of (Loss) Earnings for the year ended December 31, 2010.


Other Events

Credit Ratings

On December 15, 2011, Fitch Ratings ("Fitch") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Fitch's decision to lower its "support floor" for systemically important U.S. financial institutions. On November 29, 2011, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services ("S&P") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of S&P's implementation of revised methodologies for determining Banking Industry Country Risk Assessments and bank ratings. On September 21, 2011, Moody's Investors Service, Inc. ("Moody's") downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Moody's lowering the amount of uplift for potential U.S. government support it incorporates into ratings. On February 15, 2012, Moody's placed Bank of America's long-term debt ratings on review for possible downgrade as part of their review of financial institutions with global capital markets operations. Any adjustment to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) ratings will be determined based on Moody's review; however, the agency offered guidance that downgrades to Bank of America's ratings, if any, would likely be limited to one notch.

Currently, Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term/short-term senior debt ratings and outlooks expressed by the rating agencies are as follows: Baa1/P-2 (negative) by Moody's; A-/A-2 (negative) by S&P; and A/F1 (stable) by Fitch. The rating agencies could make further adjustments to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) credit ratings at any time and there can be no assurance that additional downgrades will not occur.

Under the terms of certain OTC derivative contracts and other trading agreements, in the event of a downgrade of our credit ratings or certain subsidiaries' credit ratings, counterparties to those agreements may require us or certain subsidiaries to provide additional collateral, terminate these contracts or agreements, or provide other remedies.

For information regarding the risks associated with adverse changes in our credit ratings, see “Executive Overview - Other Events - Transactions with Affiliates”, “Funding and Liquidity - Credit Ratings”, Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, and Item 1A. "Risk Factors" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Retirement of Certain Debt Instruments

As credit spreads for many financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, have widened during the past year due to uncertainty and volatility in the global financial markets, the fair value of debt previously issued by financial institutions has decreased. This uncertainty in the market, evidenced by, among other things, volatility in credit spreads, makes it

28


economically advantageous to consider purchasing and retiring certain of our outstanding debt instruments. In 2012, we completed a tender offer to purchase and retire certain subordinated notes for approximately $1.2 billion in cash and will consider additional purchases in the future depending upon prevailing market conditions, liquidity and other factors. If the purchase of any debt instruments are at an amount less than the carrying value, such purchases would be accretive to earnings.

European Union Sovereign Credit Risks

Certain European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, continue to experience varying degrees of financial stress. Uncertainty in the progress of debt restructuring negotiations and the lack of a clear resolution to the crisis has led to continued volatility in European as well as global financial markets, and if the situation worsens, may further adversely affect these markets. In December 2011, the European Central Bank (the "ECB") announced initiatives to address European bank liquidity and funding concerns by providing low-cost, three-year loans to banks, and expanding collateral eligibility. While reducing systemic risk, there remains considerable uncertainty as to future developments regarding the European debt crisis. In early 2012, S&P, Fitch and Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of several European countries, and S&P downgraded the credit rating of the European Financial Stability Facility (the “EFSF”), adding to concerns about investor appetite for continued support in stabilizing the affected countries. Our total sovereign and non-sovereign exposure to Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain was $2.7 billion at December 31, 2011. Our total net sovereign and non-sovereign exposure to these countries was $1.1 billion at December 31, 2011, after taking into account net credit default protection. At December 31, 2011, the fair value of net credit default protection purchased was $1.6 billion. Losses could still result because our credit protection contracts pay out only under certain scenarios. For further discussion of our direct sovereign and non-sovereign exposures in Europe, see Item 7A.“Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk - Credit Risk Management” and for more information about the risks associated with our non-sovereign exposures in Europe, see Item 1A. "Risk Factors".

Project New BAC

Project New BAC is a two-phase, enterprise-wide initiative to simplify and streamline workflows and processes, align businesses and expenses more closely with Bank of America's overall strategic plan and operating principles, and increase revenues. Phase 1 evaluations, which were completed in September 2011, focused on Bank of America's consumer businesses and related support, technology and operations functions. Phase 2 evaluations began in October 2011 and are focused on businesses and related support, technology and operations functions not subject to evaluation in Phase 1. Phase 2 evaluations are expected to continue through April 2012.
Implementation of Phase 1 recommendations began in late 2011. Reductions in the areas subject to evaluation for Phase 2 have not yet been fully identified, and accordingly, potential cost savings are currently uncertain; however, they are expected to be lower than Phase 1. All aspects of New BAC are expected to be implemented by the end of 2014.
When reductions in employment levels associated with the implementation of New BAC are probable of occurring and the amounts can be reasonably estimated, the associated severance costs will be recognized. There were no material expenses related to New BAC recorded in the year ended December 31, 2011.
For further information about the risks associated with New BAC, see Item 1A. "Risk Factors".

U.K. Corporate Income Tax Rate Change

On July 19, 2011, the U.K. 2011 Finance Bill was enacted, which reduced the corporate income tax rate. As a result of the reduction, we recorded a charge of $774 million due to the remeasurement of our U.K. net deferred tax assets. For additional information, see “Results of Operations - Year Ended December 31, 2011 Compared With Year Ended December 31, 2010.”


29


U.K. Bank Levy

The U.K. government bank levy legislation was enacted on July 19, 2011. The rate on banks operating in the U.K. has been set at 7.5 basis points (“bps”) for short-term liabilities and 3.75 bps for long-term liabilities for 2011 and will increase to 8.8 bps for short-term liabilities and 4.4 bps for long-term liabilities beginning in 2012. The cost of the bank levy was approximately $53 million for 2011, which is non-deductible for U.K. tax purposes.

Financial Reform Act

The Financial Reform Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, enacts sweeping financial regulatory reform and has altered and will continue to alter the way in which we conduct certain businesses, increase our costs and reduce our revenues. Many aspects of the Financial Reform Act remain subject to final rulemaking and will take effect over several years, making it difficult to anticipate the precise impact on Merrill Lynch, our customers or the financial services industry.

Limitations on Proprietary Trading

On October 11, 2011, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve"), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) and the SEC, representing four of the five regulatory agencies charged with promulgating regulations implementing limitations on proprietary trading as well as the sponsorship of or investment in hedge funds and private equity funds (the “Volcker Rule”) established by the Financial Reform Act, released for comment proposed implementing regulations. On January 11, 2012, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”), the fifth agency, released for comment its proposed regulations under the Volcker Rule. The proposed regulations include clarifications to the definition of proprietary trading and distinctions between permitted and prohibited activities. The comment period for the first regulations proposed ended on February 13, 2012 and the comment period for the CFTC regulations will end in March 2012. However, in light of the complexity of the proposed regulations and the large volume of comments received (the proposal requested comments on over 1,300 questions on 400 different topics), it is not possible to predict the content of the final regulations or when they will be issued.

The statutory provisions of the Volcker Rule will become effective on July 21, 2012, whether or not the final regulations are adopted, and it gives certain financial institutions two years from the effective date, with opportunities for additional extensions, to bring activities and investments into compliance. Although we exited our stand-alone proprietary trading business as of June 30, 2011 in anticipation of the Volcker Rule and further to our initiative to optimize our balance sheet, the ultimate impact of the Volcker Rule on us remains uncertain. However, based upon the content of the proposed regulations, it is possible that the implementation of the Volcker Rule could limit or restrict our remaining trading activities. Implementation of the Volcker Rule could also limit or restrict our ability to sponsor and hold ownership interests in hedge funds, private equity funds and other subsidiary operations, increase our operational and compliance costs, reduce our trading revenues and adversely affect our results of operations. For additional information about our trading business, see “Results of Operations - Year Ended December 31, 2011 Compared With Year Ended December 31, 2010.”

Derivatives
The Financial Reform Act includes measures to broaden the scope of derivative instruments subject to regulation by requiring clearing and exchange trading of certain derivatives; imposing new capital, margin, reporting, registration and business conduct requirements for certain market participants; and imposing position limits on certain OTC derivatives. The Financial Reform Act required regulators to promulgate the rulemakings necessary to implement these regulations by July 16, 2011. However, the rulemaking process was not completed as of this date, and is not expected to conclude until well into 2012. Further, the regulators granted temporary relief from certain requirements that would have taken effect on July 16, 2011 absent any rulemaking. The SEC temporary relief is effective until final rules relevant to each requirement become effective. The CFTC temporary relief is effective until the earlier of July 16, 2012 or the date on which final rules relevant to each requirement become effective. The ultimate impact of these derivatives regulations, and the time it will take to comply, continues to remain uncertain. The final

30


regulations will impose additional operational and compliance costs on us and may require us to restructure certain businesses, thereby negatively impacting our revenues and results of operations.
The Financial Reform Act will continue to have a significant and negative impact on our earnings through revenue reductions, higher costs and new restrictions, as well as reductions to available capital. The ultimate impact of the Financial Reform Act on our businesses and results of operations will depend on regulatory interpretation and rulemaking, as well as the success of any of our actions to mitigate the negative earnings impact of certain provisions.

Transactions with Affiliates

The terms of certain of our OTC derivative contracts and other trading agreements provide that upon the occurrence of certain specified events, such as a change in our credit ratings, we may be required to provide additional collateral or to provide other remedies, or our counterparties may have the right to terminate or otherwise diminish our rights under these contracts or agreements. Following the recent downgrade of our and other non-bank affiliates' credit ratings, we have engaged in discussions with certain derivative and other counterparties regarding their rights under these agreements. In response to counterparties' inquiries and requests, we have discussed and in some cases substituted derivative contracts and other trading agreements, including naming our affiliate, Bank of America, N.A. ("BANA") as the new counterparty. Our ability to substitute or make changes to these agreements to meet counterparties' requests may be subject to certain limitations, including counterparty willingness, regulatory limitations on naming BANA as the new counterparty, and the type or amount of collateral required. It is possible that such limitations on our ability to substitute or make changes to these agreements, including naming BANA as the new counterparty, could adversely affect our results of operations.

Other Matters

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have established guidelines and policies for managing capital across their respective subsidiaries. The guidance for our subsidiaries with regulatory capital requirements, including branch operations of banking subsidiaries, requires each entity to maintain satisfactory capital levels. In the U.K., the Financial Services Authority (the “FSA”) has issued proposed rules requiring the submission of significant information about certain U.K. incorporated subsidiaries (including information on intra-group dependencies and legal entity separation) to allow the FSA to develop resolution plans. As a result of the FSA review, we could be required to take certain actions over the next several years, which could impose operational costs and potentially could result in the restructuring of certain businesses and subsidiaries.

31



RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
(dollars in millions, except per share amounts)
 
For the Year Ended
December 31, 2011
 
 
For the Year Ended
December 31, 2010
 
% Change between the
Year Ended
December 31, 2011 and the Year
Ended December 31, 2010
Revenues
 

 
 
 

 
 

Principal transactions
$
5,928

 
 
$
7,074

 
(16
)%
Commissions
5,698

 
 
5,760

 
(1
)
Managed account and other fee-based revenues
5,203

 
 
4,516

 
15

Investment banking
5,179

 
 
5,313

 
(3
)
Earnings from equity method investments
347

 
 
898

 
(61
)
Intercompany service fee revenue from BAC
925

 
 
279

 
N/M

Other revenues(1)
1,796

 
 
4,324

 
(58
)
Subtotal
25,076

 
 
28,164

 
(11
)
Interest and dividend revenues
8,003

 
 
9,303

 
(14
)
Less interest expense
8,785

 
 
9,621

 
(9
)
Net interest expense
(782
)
 
 
(318
)
 
N/M

Revenues, net of interest expense
24,294

 
 
27,846

 
(13
)
Non-interest expenses:
 

 
 
 

 
 

Compensation and benefits
15,773

 
 
15,069

 
5

Communications and technology
1,771

 
 
1,993

 
(11
)
Occupancy and related depreciation
1,367

 
 
1,395

 
(2
)
Brokerage, clearing, and exchange fees
1,121

 
 
1,022

 
10

Advertising and market development
500

 
 
444

 
13

Professional fees
1,029

 
 
986

 
4

Office supplies and postage
126

 
 
157

 
(20
)
Provision for representations and warranties
2,731

 
 
(120
)
 
N/M

Intercompany service fee expense from BAC
2,320

 
 
538

 
N/M

Other
2,250

 
 
2,439

 
(8
)
Total non-interest expenses
28,988

 
 
23,923

 
21

Pre-tax (loss) earnings
(4,694
)
 
 
3,923

 
N/M

Income tax (benefit) expense
(2,946
)
 
 
147

 
N/M

Net (loss) earnings
$
(1,748
)
 
 
$
3,776

 
N/M

Preferred stock dividends

 
 
134

 
N/M

Net (loss) earnings applicable to common stockholder
$
(1,748
)
 
 
$
3,642

 
N/M

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1)
Amounts include other income and other-than-temporary impairment losses on available-for-sale debt securities. The other-than-temporary impairment losses were $59 million and $172 million for the years ended December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010, respectively.
N/M = Not meaningful.

Consolidated Results of Operations

Our net loss for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $1.7 billion compared with net earnings of $3.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010. Net revenues for 2011 were $24.3 billion compared with $27.8 billion in 2010.

Year Ended December 31, 2011 Compared With Year Ended December 31, 2010

Principal transactions revenues include both realized and unrealized gains and losses on trading assets and trading liabilities and investment securities classified as trading. Principal transactions revenues were $5.9 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with $7.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010. The decrease primarily reflected lower trading revenues across most of our businesses as compared with the prior year, primarily in our mortgage, credit and rates and currencies businesses, as well as a decline in proprietary trading revenues due to the exit of our stand-alone proprietary trading business. Market conditions were generally difficult throughout 2011 as a result of concerns over global and U.S economic conditions, regulatory uncertainty and the implications of the European sovereign debt crisis. Such conditions contributed to heightened market volatility and increased

32


risk aversion among investors. Revenues from mortgage products declined as a result of losses due to the difficult market conditions that existed during the year ended December 31, 2011, as well as from credit valuation adjustments related to financial guarantors. Revenues from credit products decreased and reflected the more difficult trading environment in 2011, including widening credit spreads, significant levels of volatility in the credit markets and decreased liquidity and client activity as a result of the European sovereign debt crisis. Revenues from rates and currency products declined and were also impacted by the difficult market conditions that existed during the year, including the European sovereign debt crisis and continued concerns about the economic recovery in the U.S. and globally. In addition, as discussed below, principal transaction revenues from proprietary trading declined by $0.8 billion due to the exit of our stand-alone proprietary trading business as of June 30, 2011. These declines in principal transactions revenues were partially offset by an increase in revenue associated with the valuation of certain of our liabilities. In the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded net gains of $2.0 billion due to the impact of the widening of Merrill Lynch's credit spreads on the carrying value of certain of our long-term debt liabilities, primarily structured notes, as compared with net losses of $0.1 billion from such long-term debt liabilities recorded in the year ended December 31, 2010 due to the narrowing of our credit spreads. In addition, we recorded revenues of $0.5 billion in the year ended December 31, 2011 due to valuation adjustments associated with the consideration of our own creditworthiness in the fair value of certain derivative liabilities, an increase of $0.4 billion from the prior year as our credit spreads widened during 2011.

Included in principal transactions revenues are net revenues associated with activities we have identified as “proprietary trading,” which was conducted separately from our customer trading activities. Our stand-alone proprietary trading operations engaged in trading activities in a variety of products, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. In response to developments relating to the Volcker Rule, we have exited our stand- alone proprietary trading business as of June 30, 2011. The revenues from these operations for the year ended December 31, 2011 were $442 million, of which $418 million were included within principal transactions revenues. The revenues from these operations for the year ended December 31, 2010 were $1.4 billion, of which $1.2 billion were included within principal transactions revenues. The remainder of the revenues for these operations were primarily recorded within net interest revenues. See also “Executive Overview - Other Events - Financial Reform Act - Limitations on Proprietary Trading.”

Net interest income (expense) is a function of (i) the level and mix of total assets and liabilities, including trading assets, deposits, financing and lending transactions, and trading strategies associated with our businesses, and (ii) the prevailing level, term structure and volatility of interest rates. Net interest income (expense) is an integral component of trading activity. In assessing the profitability of our client facilitation and trading activities, we view principal transactions and net interest income (expense) in the aggregate as net trading revenues. Changes in the composition of trading inventories and hedge positions can cause the mix of principal transactions and net interest income (expense) to fluctuate from period to period. Net interest expense was $782 million for the year ended December 31, 2011 as compared with net interest expense of $318 million in the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase in net interest expense was primarily due to lower net interest revenues generated from our trading activities, partially offset by lower financing costs.

Commissions revenues primarily arise from agency transactions in listed and OTC equity securities and commodities and options. Commissions revenues also include distribution fees for promoting and distributing mutual funds. Commissions revenues were $5.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011, a decrease of 1% from the prior year. The decline reflected marginally lower revenues from both our global markets and global wealth management businesses.

Managed account and other fee-based revenues primarily consist of asset-priced portfolio service fees earned from the administration of separately managed and other investment accounts for retail investors, annual account fees, and certain other account-related fees. Managed account and other fee-based revenues were $5.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 15% from the prior year period. The increase was driven by higher fee-based revenues from our global wealth management activities, reflecting higher levels of fee-based assets from which such revenues are generated as well as increased revenues from fees on new accounts and asset management fees. The increase in fee-based assets was due to both strong client flows into long-term products and market appreciation.

33



Investment banking revenues include (i) origination revenues representing fees earned from the underwriting of debt, equity and equity-linked securities, as well as loan syndication and commitment fees and (ii) advisory services revenues including merger and acquisition and other investment banking advisory fees. Total investment banking revenues were $5.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011, a decrease of 3% from the prior year. Underwriting revenues decreased 8% to $4.0 billion, largely driven by lower fees from debt capital markets, particularly in leveraged finance. Revenues from equity issuances also declined due to difficult market conditions.
Revenues from advisory services increased 22% to $1.2 billion. Investment banking revenues from transactions involving Bank of America were $322 million in the year ended December 31, 2011 and $212 million in the year ended December 31, 2010.

In 2012, our sales and trading revenue and investment banking fees may continue to be adversely affected by lower client activity and challenging market conditions as a result of, among other things, the European sovereign debt crisis, uncertainty regarding the outcome of the evolving domestic regulatory landscape, our credit ratings and market volatility.

Earnings from equity method investments include our pro rata share of income and losses associated with investments accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Earnings from equity method investments were $347 million for the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with $898 million for the year ended December 31, 2010. The decrease reflected lower revenues from certain equity method investments, primarily BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). In November 2010, we sold a substantial portion of our investment in BlackRock, which reduced our economic interest in BlackRock from approximately 34% to approximately 7%. As a result of this transaction, we no longer accounted for our investment in BlackRock under the equity method. Earnings from equity method investments in 2010 included a gain of $90 million associated with this sale. Refer to Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on equity method investments.

Intercompany service fee revenues from Bank of America include revenues associated with the provision of certain shared business activities with Bank of America. Intercompany service fee revenues from Bank of America were $925 million in the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with $279 million in the prior year. The increase was driven by higher fees earned from Bank of America in connection with certain shared brokerage and trading activities.

Other revenues include gains and losses on investment securities, including certain available-for-sale securities, gains and losses on private equity investments, and gains and losses on loans and other miscellaneous items. Other revenues were $1.8 billion in the year ended December 31, 2011 as compared with $4.3 billion in the year ended December 31, 2010. The decrease included lower gains from certain private equity and other investments, as well as lower gains associated with the sale of certain available-for-sale securities. In addition, the results for 2010 included a gain of approximately $600 million associated with the sale of Bloomberg Inc. notes to Bank of America. These decreases were partially offset by a pre-tax gain of $377 million resulting from the June 2011 sale of our remaining investment in BlackRock.

Compensation and benefits expenses were $15.8 billion in the year ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 5% from the prior year period. The increase included higher amortization expense associated with stock-based compensation awards, including awards granted to retirement-eligible employees, as compared with the prior year. Salary and other compensation costs also increased, which was related to investments in infrastructure. These increases were partially offset by lower incentive-based compensation expense as compared with the prior year, reflecting a decline in net revenues (adjusted for net revenues associated with the impact of changes in our credit spreads on the valuation of certain of our long-term debt and derivative liabilities). The increase was also partially offset by a charge for an incremental U.K. employer payroll tax that was recorded in 2010. In April 2010, the U.K. enacted into law a one-time employer payroll tax on bonuses awarded to employees of applicable banking entities between December 9, 2009 and April 5, 2010. The impact of this tax was approximately $330 million and was included in our compensation and benefits expense for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Non-compensation expenses were $13.2 billion in the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with $8.9 billion in

34


the prior year period. Non-compensation expenses in 2011 included a $2.7 billion provision for representations and warranties. See “Off-Balance Sheet Exposures - Representations and Warranties” for further information. Communications and technology expenses were $1.8 billion, a decrease of 11% primarily due to lower costs for technology equipment and systems consulting. Brokerage, clearing and exchange fees were $1.1 billion, an increase of 10%, due primarily to higher brokerage and other fees associated with the global markets business. Advertising and market development expenses were $500 million, an increase of 13%, due primarily to higher travel and entertainment and marketing and promotional costs. Intercompany service fee expenses from Bank of America were $2.3 billion in the year ended December 31, 2011 compared with $0.5 billion in the prior year. Beginning in 2011, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch integrated their methodologies for allocating expenses associated with shared services to their subsidiaries. As a result of this integration, during 2011 Merrill Lynch incurred a higher level of intercompany service fees from Bank of America as compared with the prior year. Other expenses were $2.3 billion, a decrease of 8% from the prior year. The decrease included lower expense associated with non-controlling interests of certain principal investments as well as a prior year loss of $190 million associated with a real estate private equity fund that we deconsolidated during the fourth quarter of 2010, partially offset by higher litigation-related expenses.

The income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $2.9 billion compared with an income tax expense of $147 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, resulting in effective tax rates of 62.8% and 3.8%, respectively. The 2011 effective tax rate was higher than for 2010 as the impact of net tax benefit items described below increased the income tax benefit recorded on the 2011 pre-tax loss whereas for 2010 net tax benefits decreased tax expense recorded on pre-tax income.

The income tax rate for 2011 was driven by a $1.0 billion release of the remaining valuation allowance provided for capital loss carryforward tax benefits and a benefit of $593 million for planned realization of previously unrecognized deferred tax assets related to the tax basis in certain subsidiaries. These benefits were partially offset by the $774 million charge due to the U.K. corporate income tax rate reduction discussed below and by a $258 million charge to establish a valuation allowance for a portion of certain non-U.S. deferred tax assets.
 
The 2010 income tax rate was driven by a $1.7 billion release of a valuation allowance provided for capital loss carryforward tax benefits and recurring tax preference items, partially offset by a $386 million charge for a one percent reduction to the U.K. tax rate enacted during 2010.
 
On July 19, 2011, the U.K. 2011 Finance Bill was enacted, which reduced the U.K. corporate income tax rate by one percent to 26% beginning on April 1, 2011, and then to 25% effective April 1, 2012. These rate reductions will favorably affect income tax expense on future U.K. earnings but also required us to remeasure our U.K. net deferred tax assets using the lower tax rates. As noted above, the income tax expense for 2011 included a $774 million charge for the remeasurement. If U.K. corporate income tax rates were to be reduced to 23% by 2014, as suggested in U.K Treasury announcements and assuming no change in the deferred tax asset balance, a charge to income tax expense of approximately $400 million for each one percent reduction in the rate would result in each period of enactment (for a total of approximately $800 million).

OFF-BALANCE SHEET EXPOSURES
As a part of our normal operations, we enter into various off-balance sheet arrangements that may require future payments. The table and discussion below outline our significant off-balance sheet arrangements, as well as their future expirations, as of December 31, 2011. Refer to Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.

35


(dollars in millions)
 
Expiration
 
Maximum
Payout
 
Less than
1 Year
 
1 - 3
Years
 
3 - 5
Years
 
Over 5
Years
Standby liquidity facilities
$
761

 
$
186

 
$
555

 
$
3

 
$
17

Residual value guarantees
320

 

 
320

 

 

Standby letters of credit and other guarantees
429

 
280

 
99

 
31

 
19


Standby Liquidity Facilities

We provide standby liquidity facilities primarily to certain unconsolidated municipal bond securitization variable interest entities (“VIEs”). In these arrangements, we are required to fund these standby liquidity facilities if certain contingent events take place (e.g., a failed remarketing) and in certain cases if the fair value of the assets held by the VIE declines below the stated amount of the liquidity obligation. The potential exposure under the facilities is mitigated by economic hedges and/or other contractual arrangements entered into by Merrill Lynch. Refer to Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.
Residual Value Guarantees
At December 31, 2011, residual value guarantees of $320 million consist of amounts associated with certain power plant facilities. Payments under these guarantees would only be required if the fair value of such assets declined below their guaranteed value. As of December 31, 2011, no payments have been made under these guarantees and the carrying value of the associated liabilities was not material, as Merrill Lynch believes that the estimated fair value of such assets was in excess of their guaranteed value.
Standby Letters of Credit
At December 31, 2011, we provided guarantees to certain counterparties in the form of standby letters of credit in the amount of $0.4 billion.
Representations and Warranties

In prior years, Merrill Lynch and certain of its subsidiaries, including First Franklin Financial Corporation (“First Franklin”), sold pools of first-lien residential mortgage loans and home equity loans as private-label securitizations (in a limited number of these securitizations, monolines insured all or some of the securities), or in the form of whole loans. Most of the loans sold in the form of whole loans were subsequently pooled into private-label securitizations sponsored by the third-party buyer of the whole loans. In addition, Merrill Lynch and First Franklin securitized first-lien residential mortgage loans generally in the form of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the GSEs. In connection with these transactions, Merrill Lynch made various representations and warranties. Breaches of these representations and warranties may result in the requirement to repurchase mortgage loans or to otherwise make whole or provide other remedies to the GSEs, whole-loan buyers, securitization trusts or monoline insurers (collectively, “repurchases”). In such cases, Merrill Lynch would be exposed to any credit loss on the repurchased mortgage loans after accounting for any mortgage insurance or mortgage guaranty payments that it may receive.

Subject to the requirements and limitations of the applicable sales and securitization agreements, these representations and warranties can be enforced by the GSEs, the whole-loan buyer, the securitization trustee, or others as governed by the applicable agreement or, in a limited number of first-lien and home equity securitizations where monoline insurers have insured all or some of the securities issued, by the monoline insurer. In the case of loans sold to parties other than the GSEs, the contractual liability to repurchase typically arises only if there is a breach of the representations and warranties that materially and adversely affects the interest of the investor or investors in the loan or of the monoline insurer (as applicable). Contracts with the GSEs do not contain equivalent language.


36


For additional information about accounting for representations and warranties and our representations and warranties claims and exposures, see Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Merrill Lynch has vigorously contested any request for repurchase when it has concluded that a valid basis for repurchase does not exist and will continue to do so in the future. Merrill Lynch may reach settlements in the future if opportunities arise on terms it believes to be advantageous to Merrill Lynch.

Bank of America BNY Mellon Settlement

On June 28, 2011, Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries entered into a settlement agreement (subject to final court approval and certain other conditions) with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), as trustee, to resolve, among other claims, all outstanding and potential claims related to alleged representations and warranties breaches (including repurchase claims) with respect to the 525 legacy first-lien and five second-lien non-GSE residential mortgage-backed securitization trusts containing loans principally originated between 2004 and 2008 and for which BNY Mellon acts as trustee or indenture trustee (the “BNY Mellon Settlement”). As a result of the experience gained by Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch affiliates in the BNY Mellon Settlement, Merrill Lynch determined that it had sufficient experience to record a $2.7 billion liability for representations and warranties related to its repurchase exposure on private-label securitizations in the year ended December 31, 2011.

There can be no assurance that final court approval of the BNY Mellon Settlement will be obtained, that all conditions to the BNY Mellon Settlement will be satisfied or, if certain conditions to the BNY Mellon Settlement permitting withdrawal are met, that Bank of America and certain of its non-Merrill Lynch subsidiaries will not determine to withdraw from the settlement. If final court approval is not obtained or if Bank of America and such subsidiaries determine to withdraw from the BNY Mellon Settlement in accordance with its terms, although Merrill Lynch is not a party to the proceedings, our future representations and warranties losses could be substantially different than existing accruals and the estimated range of possible losses over existing accruals described above. Under an order entered by the court in connection with the BNY Mellon Settlement, potentially interested persons had the opportunity to give notice of an intent to object to the settlement (including on the basis that more information was needed) until August 30, 2011. Approximately 44 groups or entities appeared prior to the deadline; two of those groups or entities have subsequently withdrawn from the proceeding and one motion to intervene was denied. Certain of these groups or entities filed notices of intent to object, made motions to intervene or both filed notices of intent to object and made motions to intervene.
 
An investor opposed to the settlement removed the proceeding to federal court. On October 19, 2011, the federal court denied BNY Mellon's motion to remand the proceeding to state court. BNY Mellon, as well as the investors that have intervened in support of the BNY Mellon Settlement, petitioned to appeal the denial of this motion. On November 4, 2011, the district court entered a written order setting a discovery schedule, and discovery is ongoing. On December 27, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit accepted the appeal, and stated in an amended scheduling order that, pursuant to statute, it would rule on the appeal by February 27, 2012.
 
It is not currently possible to predict how many of the parties who have appeared in the court proceeding will ultimately object to the BNY Mellon Settlement, whether the objections will prevent receipt of final court approval or the ultimate outcome of the court approval process, which can include appeals and could take a substantial period of time. In particular, conduct of discovery and the resolution of the objections to the settlement and any appeals could take a substantial period of time and these factors could materially delay the timing of final court approval. Accordingly, it is not possible to predict when the court approval process will be completed.

Outstanding Claims

The table below presents outstanding repurchase claims by counterparty at December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010.


37


Outstanding Claims by Counterparty
(dollars in millions)
 
 
 
December 31,
 
2011
2010
GSEs
$
65

$
59

Monoline
136

48

Others(1)
1,101

517

Total
$
1,302

$
624

(1)
The majority of these repurchase claims are from whole-loan buyers of subprime loans or trustees of private-label securitization trusts through which First Franklin sold subprime loans.

Of the $1.3 billion of outstanding claims as of December 31, 2011, we believe that for $620 million, a valid defect has not been identified which would constitute an actionable breach of representations and warranties. The remaining $682 million of claims are in the process of review.
  
In 2011, we received $665 million of new repurchase claims from whole-loan and private-label securitization investors, predominately from private-label securitization trustees received in the fourth quarter of 2011. These claims from private-label securitization trustees are still in the process of being evaluated, although we believe it is likely that some of the claims will meet the required standards. When a claim has been denied and there has not been communication with the counterparty for six months, Merrill Lynch views these claims as inactive; however, they remain in the unresolved claims balance until resolution.

As presented in the table below, Merrill Lynch paid $58 million during both the year ended December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010 to resolve $62 million and $68 million, respectively, of repurchase claims through repurchase or indemnification payments to investors, resulting in a loss on the related loans at the time of repurchase or indemnification payment of $48 million in both periods. Cash paid for loan repurchases includes the unpaid principal balance of the loan plus past due interest. The amount of loss for loan repurchases is reduced by the fair value of the underlying loan collateral. The repurchase of loans and indemnification payments related to repurchase claims generally resulted from material breaches of representations and warranties related to the loans' material compliance with the applicable underwriting standards, including borrower misrepresentation, credit exceptions without sufficient compensating factors and non-compliance with underwriting procedures, although the actual representations and warranties made in a sales transaction and the resulting repurchase and indemnification activity can vary by transaction or investor. A direct relationship between the type of defect that causes the breach of representations and warranties and the severity of the realized loss has not been observed.

dollars in millions
 
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2011
2010
Claims resolved (1)
$
62

$
68

 
 
 
Repurchases
12

13

Indemnification payments
46

45

Total
$
58

$
58

(1) Represents unpaid principal balance.



Liability for Representations and Warranties

The liability for representations and warranties is included in Interest and other payables on the Consolidated Balance Sheets, and the related provision is included in Non-interest expenses on the Consolidated Statements of (Loss) Earnings. The methodology used to estimate the liability for representations and warranties is a function of

38


the representations and warranties given and considers a variety of factors, which include, depending on the counterparty, actual defaults, estimated future defaults, historical loss experience, estimated home prices, other economic conditions, estimated probability that a repurchase claim will be received, consideration of whether presentation thresholds will be met, number of payments made by the borrower prior to default and estimated probability that a loan will be required to be repurchased as well as other relevant facts and circumstances, such as bulk settlements and identity of the counterparty or type of counterparty, with whom a sale was made. The estimate of the liability for representations and warranties is based on currently available information, significant judgment and a number of factors, including those set forth above, that are subject to change. Changes to any one of these factors could significantly impact the estimate of the liability and could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations for any particular period.

At December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010, the liability for representations and warranties was $2.8 billion and $213 million, respectively. As noted above, in the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded a provision for representations and warranties related to our repurchase exposure on private-label securitizations of $2.7 billion.

Estimated Range of Possible Loss for Non-GSEs

We believe it is probable that additional claimants in certain types of securitizations may come forward with credible claims that meet the requirements of the terms of the securitizations. As a result of the BNY Mellon Settlement in the second quarter of 2011, we determined that we had sufficient experience to record a liability related to our exposure on certain private-label securitizations. We believe that with the additional $2.7 billion non-GSE representations and warranties provision recorded in the year ended December 31, 2011, we have provided for a substantial portion of our non-GSE representations and warranties exposures.

However, it is reasonably possible that future representations and warranties losses may occur in excess of the amounts recorded for these exposures. In addition, the BNY Mellon Settlement did not provide sufficient experience related to certain private-label securitizations sponsored by third-party whole-loan investors. As it relates to certain private-label securitizations sponsored by third-party whole-loan investors and certain whole loan sales, it is not possible to determine whether a loss has occurred or is probable and, therefore, no representations and warranties liability has been recorded in connection with these transactions.

We currently estimate that the range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties exposure as of December 31, 2011 could be up to $0.5 billion over existing accruals. This estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties does not represent a probable loss, and is based on currently available information, significant judgment, and a number of assumptions, including those set forth below, that are subject to change.

The methodology used to estimate the non-GSE representations and warranties liability and the corresponding range of possible loss considers a variety of factors including Merrill Lynch's experience related to actual defaults, projected future defaults, historical loss experience, estimated home prices, other economic conditions and the experience of Merrill Lynch's affiliates. Among the factors that impact the non-GSE representations and warranties liability and the corresponding estimated range of possible loss are: (1) contractual material adverse effect requirements, (2) the representations and warranties provided, and (3) the requirement to meet certain presentation thresholds. The first factor is based on our belief that a non-GSE contractual liability to repurchase a loan generally arises only if the counterparties prove there is a breach of representations and warranties that materially and adversely affects the interest of the investor or all investors, or the monoline insurer (as applicable), in a securitization trust and, accordingly, we believe that the repurchase claimants must prove that the alleged representations and warranties breach was the cause of the loss. The second factor is related to the fact that non-GSE securitizations include different types of representations and warranties than those provided to the GSEs. We believe the non-GSE securitizations' representations and warranties are less rigorous and actionable than the explicit provisions of comparable agreements with the GSEs without regard to any variations that may have arisen as a result of dealings with the GSEs. The third factor is related to the fact that certain presentation thresholds need to be met in order for any repurchase claim to be asserted on the initiative of investors under the non-GSE agreements. A securitization trustee may investigate or demand repurchase on its own action, and most agreements contain a

39


threshold, for example 25% of the voting rights per trust, that allows investors to declare a servicing event of default under certain circumstances or to request certain action, such as requesting loan files, that the trustee may choose to accept and follow, exempt from liability, provided the trustee is acting in good faith. If there is an uncured servicing event of default, and the trustee fails to bring suit during a 60-day period, then, under most agreements, investors may file suit. In addition to this, most agreements also allow investors to direct the securitization trustee to investigate loan files or demand the repurchase of loans, if security holders hold a specified percentage, for example, 25%, of the voting rights of each tranche of the outstanding securities.

Although we continue to believe that presentation thresholds are a factor in the determination of probable loss, given the BNY Mellon Settlement, the estimated range of possible loss assumes that the presentation threshold can be met for all of the non-GSE securitization transactions.

In addition, in the case of private-label securitizations, the methodology used to estimate the non-GSE representations and warranties liability and the corresponding range of possible loss considers the experience resulting from the BNY Mellon Settlement and assumes that the conditions to the BNY Mellon Settlement will be satisfied. Since the non-GSE transactions that were included in the BNY Mellon Settlement differ from those that were not included in the BNY Mellon Settlement, Merrill Lynch adjusted the experience implied in the settlement in order to determine the estimated non-GSE representations and warranties liability and corresponding range of possible loss. The judgmental adjustments made include consideration of the differences in the mix of products in the securitizations, loan originator, likelihood of claims differences, the differences in the number of payments that the borrower has made prior to default, and the sponsor of the securitization.

Future provisions and/or ranges of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties may be significantly impacted if actual experience is different from our assumptions in our predictive models, including, without limitation, those regarding the ultimate resolution of the BNY Mellon Settlement, estimated repurchase rates, economic conditions, home prices, consumer and counterparty behavior, and a variety of judgmental factors. Adverse developments with respect to one or more of the assumptions underlying the liability for representations and warranties and the corresponding estimated range of possible loss could result in significant increases to future provisions and/or this range of possible loss estimate. For example, if courts were to disagree with our interpretation that the underlying agreements require a claimant to prove that the representations and warranties breach was the cause of the loss, it could significantly impact this estimated range of possible loss. Additionally, if recent court rulings related to monoline litigation, including one related to an affiliate of ours, that have allowed sampling of loan files instead of requiring a loan-by-loan review to determine if a representations and warranties breach has occurred are followed generally by the courts, private-label securitization investors may view litigation as a more attractive alternative as compared to a loan-by-loan review. Finally, although Merrill Lynch believes that the representations and warranties typically given in non-GSE transactions are less rigorous and actionable than those given in GSE transactions, Merrill Lynch does not have significant loan-level experience in non-GSE transactions to measure the impact of these differences on the probability that a loan will be required to be repurchased.

The liability for obligations under representations and warranties with respect to GSE and non-GSE exposures and the corresponding estimated range of possible loss for non-GSE representations and warranties exposures do not include any losses related to litigation matters disclosed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, nor do they include any potential securities law or fraud claims or potential indemnity or other claims against us. Merrill Lynch is not able to reasonably estimate the amount of any possible loss with respect to any such securities law (except to the extent reflected in the aggregate range of possible loss for litigation and regulatory matters disclosed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements), fraud or other claims against us; however, such loss could be material.

Experience with Non-GSE Investors

As presented in the table below, Merrill Lynch, including First Franklin, sold loans originated from 2004 to 2008 (primarily subprime and alt-A) with an original principal balance of $132 billion to investors other than the GSEs (although the GSEs are investors in certain private-label securitizations), of which approximately $62 billion in principal has been paid off and $46 billion has defaulted or is severely delinquent (i.e., 180 days or more past due)

40


at December 31, 2011.

As it relates to private-label securitizations, a contractual liability to repurchase mortgage loans generally arises only if counterparties prove there is a breach of the representations and warranties that materially and adversely affects the interest of the investor or all investors in a securitization trust or of the monoline insurer (as applicable). Merrill Lynch believes that the longer a loan performs, the less likely it is that an alleged representations and warranties breach had a material impact on the loan's performance or that a breach even exists. Because the majority of the borrowers in this population would have made a significant number of payments if they are not yet 180 days or more past due, we believe that the principal balance at the greatest risk for repurchase claims in this population of private-label securitization investors is a combination of loans that have already defaulted and those that are currently severely delinquent. Additionally, the obligation to repurchase loans also requires that counterparties have the contractual right to demand repurchase of the loans (presentation thresholds). Private-label securitization investors generally do not have the contractual right to demand repurchase of loans directly or the right to access loan files.

While we believe the agreements for private-label securitizations generally contain less rigorous representations and warranties and place higher burdens on investors seeking repurchases than the explicit provisions of the comparable agreements with the GSEs without regard to any variations that may have arisen as a result of dealings with the GSEs, the agreements generally include a representation that underwriting practices were prudent and customary.

The following table details the population of loans originated between 2004 and 2008 and the population of loans sold as whole loans or in non-GSE private-label securitizations by entity together with the defaulted and severely delinquent loans stratified by the number of payments the borrower made prior to default or becoming severely delinquent at December 31, 2011. In connection with these transactions, we provided representations and warranties, and the whole loan investors may retain those rights even when the whole loans were aggregated with other collateral into private-label securitizations sponsored by the whole loan investors. At least 25 payments have been made on approximately 63% of the defaulted and severely delinquent loans. Merrill Lynch believes many of the defaults observed in these securitizations have been, and continue to be, driven by external factors, such as the substantial depreciation in home prices, persistently high unemployment and other negative economic trends, diminishing the likelihood that any loan defect (assuming one exists at all) was the cause of a loan's default. As of December 31, 2011, approximately 35% of the loans sold to non-GSEs that were originated between 2004 and 2008 have defaulted or are severely delinquent.

(dollars in billions)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Principal Balance
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Principal at Risk
Entity
Original
Principal
Balance
 
Outstanding
Principal
Balance
December 31, 2011
 
Outstanding
Principal
Balance
Over 180 Days
 
Defaulted Principal Balance
 
Defaulted
or Severely Delinquent
 
Borrower
Made Less
than 13
Payments
 
Borrower
Made 13 to
24 Payments
 
Borrower
Made 25 to
36 Payments
 
Borrower
Made More
Than 36
Payments
Merrill Lynch (excluding First Franklin)
$
50

 
$
16

 
$
6

 
$
12

 
$
18

 
$
3

 
$
4

 
$
3

 
$
8

First Franklin
82

 
21

 
7

 
21

 
28

 
4

 
6

 
5

 
13

Total (1)
$
132

 
$
37

 
$
13

 
$
33

 
$
46

 
$
7

 
$
10

 
$
8

 
$
21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

(1) Excludes transactions sponsored by Merrill Lynch where no representations or warranties were made.

Prior to 2011, the majority of the claims that we received were from third-party whole-loan investors. In 2011, we received $665 million of new repurchase claims from whole-loan and private-label securitization investors, predominately from private-label securitization trustees received in the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition, there has been an increase in requests for loan files from private-label securitization trustees. We believe it is likely that these requests will lead to an increase in repurchase claims from private-label securitization trustees that meet the required standards.



41


Legal Matters

Merrill Lynch has been named as a defendant in various legal actions, including arbitrations, class actions, and other litigation arising in connection with its activities as a global diversified financial services institution. Refer to Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information, including the estimated aggregate range of possible loss.

Derivatives

We record all derivative transactions at fair value on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. We do not monitor our exposure to derivatives based on the notional amount because that amount is not a relevant indicator of our risk to these contracts, as it is generally not indicative of the amount that we would owe on the contract. Instead, a risk framework is used to define risk tolerances and establish limits to help to ensure that certain risk-related losses occur within acceptable, predefined limits. Derivatives that meet the accounting definition of a guarantee and credit derivatives are included in Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Involvement with VIEs

We transact with VIEs in a variety of capacities, including those that we help establish as well as those initially established by third parties. We utilize VIEs in the ordinary course of business to support our own and our customers' financing and investing needs. Merrill Lynch securitizes loans and debt securities using VIEs as a source of funding and a means of transferring the economic risk of the loans or debt securities to third parties. We also administer, structure or invest in or enter into derivatives with other VIEs, including multi-seller conduits, municipal bond trusts, collateralized debt obligations ("CDOs") and other entities, as described in more detail below. Our involvement with VIEs can vary and we are required to continuously reassess prior consolidation and disclosure conclusions. Refer to Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of our consolidation accounting policy and for information regarding new VIE accounting rules that became effective on January 1, 2010. Types of VIEs with which we have historically transacted include:

Municipal bond securitization VIEs: VIEs that issue medium-term paper, purchase municipal bonds as collateral and purchase a guarantee to enhance the creditworthiness of the collateral.
Asset-backed securities VIEs: VIEs that issue different classes of debt, from super senior to subordinated, and equity and purchase assets as collateral, including residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto leases and credit card receivables.
CDOs: VIEs that issue different classes of debt, from super senior to subordinated, and equity and purchase securities, including asset-backed securities collateralized by residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto leases and credit card receivables as well as corporate bonds.
Synthetic CDOs: VIEs that issue different classes of debt, from super senior to subordinated, and equity, purchase high-grade assets as collateral and enter into a portfolio of credit default swaps to synthetically create the credit risk of the issued debt.
Credit-linked note VIEs: VIEs that issue notes linked to the credit risk of a company, purchase high-grade assets as collateral and enter into credit default swaps to synthetically create the credit risk to pay the return on the notes.
Trust preferred security VIEs: These VIEs hold junior subordinated debt issued by ML & Co. or our subsidiaries, and issue preferred stock on substantially the same terms as the junior subordinated debt to third party investors. We also provide a parent guarantee, on a junior subordinated basis, of the distributions and other payments on the preferred stock to the extent that the VIEs have funds legally available. The debt we issue into the VIE is classified as long-term borrowings on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. The ML & Co. parent guarantees of its own subsidiaries are not required to be recorded in the Consolidated Financial Statements.

42


Contractual Obligations
We have contractual obligations to make future payments of debt, lease and other agreements. Additionally, in the normal course of business, we enter into contractual arrangements whereby we commit to future purchases of products or services from unaffiliated parties. Other obligations include our contractual funding obligations related to our employee benefit plans. See Notes 12, 14 and 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

FUNDING AND LIQUIDITY

Funding

We fund our assets primarily with a mix of secured and unsecured liabilities through a globally coordinated funding strategy with Bank of America. We fund a portion of our trading assets with secured liabilities, including repurchase agreements, securities loaned and other short-term secured borrowings, which are less sensitive to our credit ratings due to the underlying collateral. Refer to Note 12 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding our borrowings.

Beginning late in the third quarter of 2009, in connection with the update or renewal of certain Merrill Lynch international securities offering programs, Bank of America agreed to guarantee debt securities, warrants and/or certificates issued by certain subsidiaries of ML & Co. on a going forward basis. All existing ML & Co. guarantees of securities issued by those same Merrill Lynch subsidiaries under various international securities offering programs will remain in full force and effect as long as those securities are outstanding, and Bank of America has not assumed any of those prior ML & Co. guarantees or otherwise guaranteed such securities. There were approximately $5.2 billion of securities guaranteed by Bank of America at December 31, 2011. In addition, Bank of America has guaranteed the performance of Merrill Lynch on certain derivative transactions. The aggregate amount of such derivative liabilities was approximately $0.6 billion at December 31, 2011.

Following the completion of Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, ML & Co. became a subsidiary of Bank of America and established intercompany lending and borrowing arrangements to facilitate centralized liquidity management. Included in these intercompany agreements is a $75 billion one-year revolving unsecured line of credit that allows ML & Co. to borrow funds from Bank of America at a spread to the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") that is reset periodically and is consistent with other intercompany agreements. This credit line was renewed effective January 1, 2012 with a maturity date of January 1, 2013. The credit line will automatically be extended by one year to the succeeding January 1st unless Bank of America provides written notice not to extend at least 45 days prior to the maturity date. The agreement does not contain any financial or other covenants. There were no outstanding borrowings against the line of credit at December 31, 2011.

In addition to the $75 billion unsecured line of credit, a $25 billion 364-day revolving unsecured line of credit that allows ML & Co. to borrow funds from Bank of America was established on February 15, 2011. Interest on the line of credit is based on prevailing short-term market rates. The agreement does not contain any financial or other covenants. The line of credit matures on February 12, 2013. There were no outstanding borrowings against the line of credit at December 31, 2011.

Following the merger of BAS into MLPF&S, Bank of America agreed to guarantee the short-term, senior unsecured obligations issued by MLPF&S under its short-term master note program on a going forward basis. During 2011, Merrill Lynch decided to reduce short-term unsecured obligations. At December 31, 2011, there were no longer any borrowings outstanding under this program.

Also in connection with the merger of BAS into MLPF&S, MLPF&S either assumed or established the following agreements:

MLPF&S assumed an approximately $1.5 billion subordinated loan agreement with Bank of America, which bears interest based on a spread to LIBOR, and has a scheduled maturity date of December 31, 2013. The

43


loan agreement contains a provision that automatically extends the loan's maturity by one year unless Bank of America provides 13 months written notice not to extend prior to the scheduled maturity date.

MLPF&S assumed a $7 billion revolving subordinated line of credit with Bank of America. The subordinated line of credit bears interest based on a spread to LIBOR, and has a scheduled maturity date of October 1, 2013. The revolving subordinated line of credit contains a provision that automatically extends the maturity by one year unless Bank of America provides 13 months written notice not to extend prior to the scheduled maturity date. At December 31, 2011, $1.1 billion was outstanding on the subordinated line of credit.

On November 1, 2010, a $4 billion one-year revolving unsecured line of credit that allows MLPF&S to borrow funds from Bank of America was established. Interest on the line of credit is based on prevailing short-term market rates. The credit line will mature on November 1, 2012 and may automatically be extended by one year to the succeeding November 1st unless Bank of America provides written notice not to extend at least 45 days prior to the maturity date. At December 31, 2011, there were no borrowings outstanding on the line of credit.

On February 22, 2011, a $15 billion 364-day revolving unsecured line of credit that allows MLPF&S to borrow funds from Bank of America was established. Interest on the line of credit is based on prevailing short-term market rates. The line of credit matures on February 19, 2013. At December 31, 2011, approximately $1.5 billion was outstanding on the line of credit.


Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have entered into certain intercompany lending and borrowing arrangements to facilitate centralized liquidity management. Included in these arrangements is a $50 billion extendible one-year revolving credit facility that allows Bank of America to borrow funds from Merrill Lynch at a spread to LIBOR that is reset periodically and is consistent with other intercompany agreements. The credit facility matures on January 1, 2013 and will automatically be extended by one year to the succeeding January 1st unless Merrill Lynch provides written notice not to extend at least 45 days prior to the maturity date. There were no amounts outstanding at December 31, 2011 and approximately $6.1 billion outstanding at December 31, 2010 under this credit facility. In addition, in October 2011, Merrill Lynch entered into a short-term revolving credit facility that will allow Bank of America to borrow up to an additional $25 billion. Interest on borrowings under the credit facility is based on prevailing short-term market rates. At December 31, 2011, approximately $3.7 billion was outstanding under this credit facility.

Credit Ratings

Our borrowing costs and ability to raise funds are directly impacted by our credit ratings. In addition, credit ratings may be important to customers or counterparties when we compete in certain markets and when we seek to engage in certain transactions, including OTC derivatives. Thus, it is our objective to maintain high-quality credit ratings.

Credit ratings and outlooks are opinions on our creditworthiness and that of our obligations or securities, including long-term debt, short-term borrowings and other securities, including asset securitizations. Following the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, the primary credit rating agencies have indicated that the major drivers of Merrill Lynch's credit ratings are Bank of America's credit ratings. Bank of America's credit ratings are subject to ongoing review by the rating agencies, which consider a number of factors, including Bank of America's financial strength, performance, prospects and operations as well as factors not under Bank of America's control.

Other factors that influence Bank of America's and our credit ratings include changes to the rating agencies' methodologies for our industry or certain security types, the rating agencies' assessment of the general operating environment for financial services companies, our mortgage exposures, our relative positions in the markets in which we compete, reputation, liquidity position, diversity of funding sources, funding costs, the level and volatility of earnings, corporate governance and risk management policies, capital position, capital management practices and current or future regulatory and legislative initiatives.

44



Each of the three primary rating agencies, Moody's, S&P and Fitch, downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s ratings in late 2011. They have each also indicated that, as a systemically important financial institution, Bank of America's (and consequently ML & Co.'s) credit ratings currently reflect their expectation that, if necessary, Bank of America would receive significant support from the U.S. government. They have indicated that they will continue to assess this view of support as financial services regulations and legislation evolve. On December 15, 2011, Fitch downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Fitch's decision to lower its "support floor" for systemically important U.S. financial institutions. This downgrade resolves the Rating Watch Negative that Fitch placed on Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s ratings on October 22, 2010. On November 29, 2011, S&P downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of S&P's implementation of revised methodologies for determining Banking Industry Country Risk Assessments and bank ratings. On September 21, 2011, Moody's downgraded Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term and short-term debt ratings as a result of Moody's lowering the amount of uplift for potential U.S. government support it incorporates into ratings. On February 15, 2012, Moody's placed Bank of America's long-term debt ratings on review for possible downgrade as part of their review of financial institutions with global capital markets operations. Any adjustment to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) ratings will be determined based on Moody's review; however, the agency offered guidance that downgrades to Bank of America's ratings, if any, would likely be limited to one notch. The rating agencies could make further adjustments to Bank of America's (and consequently, our) ratings at any time and provide no assurances that they will maintain our ratings at current levels.
 
Currently, Bank of America's and ML & Co.'s long-term/short-term senior debt ratings and outlooks expressed by the rating agencies are as follows: Baa1/P-2 (negative) by Moody's; A-/A-2 (negative) by S&P; and A/F1 (stable) by Fitch. MLPF&S's long-term/short-term senior debt ratings and outlooks are A/A-1 (negative) by S&P and A/F1 (stable) by Fitch. Merrill Lynch International, a U.K.-based registered investment firm and subsidiary of ML & Co., has a long-term/short-term senior debt rating and outlook of A/A-1 (negative) by S&P. Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited, an Ireland-based bank subsidiary of ML & Co., has a long-term/short-term senior debt rating and outlook of A/F1 (stable) by Fitch.

A further reduction in certain of our credit ratings may have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, access to credit markets, the related cost of funds, our businesses and on certain trading revenues, particularly in those businesses where counterparty creditworthiness is critical. In addition, under the terms of certain OTC derivative contracts and other trading agreements, the counterparties to those agreements may require us to provide additional collateral, or to terminate these contracts or agreements, which could cause us to sustain losses and/or adversely impact our liquidity. If Bank of America's or ML & Co's short-term credit ratings, or those of our bank or broker-dealer subsidiaries, were downgraded by one or more levels, the potential loss of access to short-term funding sources such as repurchase agreement financing, and the effect on our incremental cost of funds and earnings could be material.

At December 31, 2011, if the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by one incremental notch, the amount of additional collateral contractually required by derivative contracts and other trading agreements would have been approximately $0.4 billion. If the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by a second incremental notch, approximately $0.3 billion in additional collateral would have been required.
Also, if the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by one incremental notch, the derivative liability that would be subject to unilateral termination by counterparties as of December 31, 2011 was $0.5 billion, against which $0.3 billion of collateral had been posted. Further, if the rating agencies had downgraded their long-term debt ratings for ML & Co. or certain subsidiaries by a second incremental notch, the derivative liability that would be subject to unilateral termination by the counterparties as of December 31, 2011 was an incremental $3.5 billion, against which $3.4 billion of collateral had been posted.

While certain potential impacts are contractual and quantifiable, the full consequences of a credit ratings downgrade to a financial institution are inherently uncertain, as they depend upon numerous dynamic, complex and inter-

45


related factors and assumptions, including whether any downgrade of a firm's long-term credit ratings precipitates downgrades to its short-term credit ratings, and assumptions about the potential behaviors of various customers, investors and counterparties. 

During the third quarter of 2011, Moody's and S&P placed the sovereign rating of the U.S. on review for possibility of a default on the government's debt obligations because of a failure to increase the debt limit. On August 2, 2011, Moody's affirmed its Aaa rating and revised its outlook to negative. On August 5, 2011, S&P downgraded the long-term sovereign credit rating of the U.S. to AA+, and affirmed the short-term sovereign credit rating; the outlook is negative. On November 28, 2011, Fitch affirmed its AAA long-term rating of the U.S., but changed the outlook from stable to negative. On the same day, Fitch affirmed its F1+ short-term rating of the U.S. All three rating agencies have indicated that they will continue to assess fiscal projections and consolidation measures, as well as the medium-term economic outlook for the U.S.


46


Item 7A.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Market Risk Management

Merrill Lynch defines market risk as the potential change in value of financial instruments caused by fluctuations in interest rates, exchange rates, equity and commodity prices, credit spreads, and related risks.

Control and Governance Structure

On January 1, 2009, pursuant to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, Merrill Lynch adopted Bank of America's risk management and governance practices to maintain consistent risk measurement and disciplined risk taking. Bank of America's risk management structure as applicable to Merrill Lynch is described below.
The Global Markets Risk Committee (“GRC”), chaired by the Global Markets Risk Executive, has been designated by the Asset, Liability and Market Risk Committee (“ALMRC”) as the primary governance authority for global markets risk management including trading risk management. The GRC's focus is to take a forward-looking view of the primary credit and market risks impacting Bank of America's Global Banking and Markets business (which includes Merrill Lynch's sales and trading businesses) and prioritize those that need a proactive risk mitigation strategy. Market risks that impact businesses outside of the Global Banking and Markets business are monitored and governed by their respective governance authorities.
The GRC monitors significant daily revenues and losses by business and the primary drivers of the revenues or losses. Thresholds are in place for each of our businesses in order to determine if the revenue or loss is considered to be significant for that business. If any of the thresholds are exceeded, an explanation of the variance is provided to the GRC. The thresholds are developed in coordination with the respective risk managers to highlight those revenues or losses that exceed what is considered to be normal daily income statement volatility.

Value-at-Risk (“VaR”)

To evaluate risk in our trading activities, we focus on the actual and potential volatility of individual positions as well as portfolios. VaR is a key statistic used to measure market risk. In order to manage day-to-day risks, VaR is subject to trading limits both for our overall trading portfolio and within individual businesses. All limit excesses are communicated to management for review.
A VaR model simulates the value of a portfolio under a range of hypothetical scenarios in order to generate a distribution of potential gains and losses. VaR represents the worst loss the portfolio is expected to experience based on historical trends with a given level of confidence and depends on the volatility of the positions in the portfolio and on how strongly their risks are correlated. Within any VaR model, there are significant and numerous assumptions that will differ from company to company. In addition, the accuracy of a VaR model depends on the availability and quality of historical data for each of the positions in the portfolio. A VaR model may require additional modeling assumptions for new products that do not have extensive historical price data or for illiquid positions for which accurate daily prices are not consistently available.
A VaR model is an effective tool in estimating ranges of potential gains and losses on our trading portfolios. There are, however, many limitations inherent in a VaR model as it utilizes historical results over a defined time period to estimate future performance. Historical results may not always be indicative of future results and changes in market conditions or in the composition of the underlying portfolio could have a material impact on the accuracy of the VaR model. In order for the VaR model to reflect current market conditions, we update the historical data underlying our VaR model on a bi-weekly basis and regularly review the assumptions underlying the model. Our VaR model utilizes three years of historical data. This time period was chosen to ensure that the VaR reflects both a broad range of market movements as well as being sensitive to recent changes in market volatility.
We continually review, evaluate and enhance our VaR model to ensure that it reflects the material risks in our trading portfolio. Nevertheless, due to the limitations previously discussed, we have historically used the VaR model as only one of the components in managing our trading risk and also use other techniques such as stress

47


testing and desk level limits. Periods of extreme market stress influence the reliability of these techniques to various degrees.

The accompanying table presents year-end, average, high and low daily trading VaR for the year ended December 31, 2011, as well as a comparison to the year-end VaR as of December 31, 2010.

2011 Trading Activities Market Risk VaR
(dollars in millions)
 
2011
Year End
 
2011
Quarterly
Average(3)
 
2011
High
 
2011
Low
 
2010
Year End
Trading value-at-risk(1)
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Foreign exchange
$
14

 
$
15

 
$
23

 
$
10

 
$
18

Interest rate
39

 
40

 
48

 
31

 
37

Credit
56

 
102

 
132

 
56

 
128

Real estate/mortgage
32

 
64

 
90

 
32

 
69

Commodities
14

 
18

 
28

 
14

 
19

Equities
18

 
33

 
43

 
18

 
30

Subtotal(2)
173

 
272

 
 

 
 

 
301

Diversification benefit
(93
)
 
(130
)
 
 

 
 

 
(127
)
Overall
$
80

 
$
142

 
 

 
 

 
$
174

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1)
Based on a 99% confidence level and a one-day holding period.
(2)
Subtotals are not provided for highs and lows as they are not meaningful.
(3)
Amounts represent the average of the quarter-end VaR results for 2011.

The decrease in average VaR during 2011 was primarily due to risk reductions during the year across the major asset classes.

Credit Risk Management

Counterparty Credit Risk

Credit risk is the risk of loss arising from the inability or failure of a borrower or counterparty to meet its obligations. Credit risk can also arise from operational failures that result in an erroneous advance, commitment or investment of funds. Merrill Lynch defines the credit exposure to a borrower or counterparty as the loss potential arising from all product classifications, including loans, derivatives, assets held-for-sale and unfunded lending commitments, which include loan commitments, letters of credit and financial guarantees. Derivative positions are recorded at fair value and assets held-for-sale are recorded at either the lower of cost or fair value. Certain loans and unfunded commitments are accounted for under the fair value option election. Credit risk for these categories of assets is not accounted for as part of the allowance for credit losses but as part of the fair value adjustments recorded in earnings. For derivative positions, our credit risk is measured as the net cost in the event the counterparties with contracts in a gain position to us fail to perform under the terms of those contracts. We use the current mark-to-market value to represent credit exposure without giving consideration to future mark-to-market changes. The credit risk amounts take into consideration the effects of legally enforceable master netting agreements and cash collateral. Our consumer and commercial credit extension and review procedures take into account funded and unfunded credit exposures.

We manage credit risk based on the risk profile of the borrower or counterparty, repayment sources, the nature of underlying collateral, and other support given current events, conditions and expectations.


48


Commercial Portfolio

Credit risk management for the commercial portfolio begins with an assessment of the credit risk profile of the borrower or counterparty based on an analysis of its financial position. As part of the overall credit risk assessment, our commercial credit exposures are assigned a risk rating and are subject to approval based on defined credit approval standards. Subsequent to loan origination, risk ratings are monitored on an ongoing basis, and if necessary, adjusted to reflect changes in the financial condition, cash flow, risk profile or outlook of a borrower or counterparty. In making credit decisions, we consider risk rating, collateral, country, industry and single name concentration limits while also balancing the total borrower or counterparty relationship. Our business and risk management personnel use a variety of tools to continuously monitor the ability of a borrower or counterparty to perform under its obligations. We use risk rating aggregations to measure and evaluate concentrations within portfolios. In addition, risk ratings are a factor in determining the level of assigned economic capital and the allowance for credit losses.

Commercial credit risk is evaluated and managed with the goal that concentrations of credit exposure do not result in undesirable levels of risk. We review, measure and manage concentrations of credit exposure by industry, product, geography, customer relationship and loan size. We also review, measure and manage commercial real estate loans by geographic location and property type. In addition, within our international portfolio, we evaluate exposures by region and by country. We also utilize syndications of exposure to third parties, loan sales, hedging and other risk mitigation techniques to manage the size and risk profile of the commercial credit portfolio.

We account for certain large corporate loans and loan commitments (including issued but unfunded letters of credit which are considered utilized for credit risk management purposes) that exceed our single name credit risk concentration guidelines under the fair value option. Lending commitments, both funded and unfunded, are actively managed and monitored, and as appropriate, credit risk for these lending relationships may be mitigated through the use of credit derivatives, with our credit view and market perspectives determining the size and timing of the hedging activity. In addition, we purchase credit protection to cover the funded portion as well as the unfunded portion of certain other credit exposures. To lessen the cost of obtaining our desired credit protection levels, credit exposure may be added within an industry, borrower or counterparty group by selling protection. These credit derivatives do not meet the requirements for treatment as accounting hedges. They are carried at fair value with changes in fair value recorded in earnings.

Consumer Portfolio

Credit risk management for the consumer portfolio begins with initial underwriting and continues throughout a borrower's credit cycle. Statistical techniques in conjunction with experiential judgment are used in all aspects of portfolio management including underwriting, product pricing, risk appetite, setting credit limits, and establishing operating processes and metrics to quantify and balance risks and returns. Statistical models are built using detailed behavioral information from external sources such as credit bureaus and/or internal historical experience. These models are a component of our consumer credit risk management process and are used in part to help make both new and existing credit decisions and portfolio management strategies, including authorizations and line management, collection practices and strategies, determination of the allowance for loan losses, and economic capital allocations for credit risk.

European Exposures

Certain European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, continue to experience varying degrees of financial stress. Risks from the continued debt crisis in Europe could continue to disrupt the financial markets which could have a detrimental impact on global economic conditions and sovereign and non-sovereign debt in these countries. Uncertainty in the progress of debt restructuring negotiations and the lack of a clear resolution to the crisis has led to continued volatility in European as well as global financial markets. In December 2011, the ECB announced initiatives to address European bank liquidity and funding concerns by providing low-cost, three-year loans to banks, and expanding collateral eligibility. In early 2012, S&P, Fitch and Moody's

49


downgraded the credit ratings of several European countries, and S&P downgraded the credit rating of the EFSF, adding to concerns about investor appetite for continued support in stabilizing the affected countries.

The table below presents our direct sovereign and non-sovereign exposures in these countries at December 31, 2011.


50


Select European Countries
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Country
Hedges and
Net Country
 
Funded Loans
 
 
 
Exposure
Credit
Exposure
 
and Loan
Unfunded
Derivative
Securities/Other
December 31,
Default
December 31,
(dollars in millions)
 Equivalents
Commitments
Assets (1)
   Investments (2)
2011
Protection (3)
2011 (4)
Country
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Greece
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$

$
101

$
101

$
43

$
144

   Financial Institutions


1


1

(23
)
(22
)
   Corporates


1

23

24

(1
)
23

           Total Greece
$

$

$
2

$
124

$
126

$
19

$
145

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ireland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$
8

$

$
8

$

$
8

   Financial Institutions
46


108

16

170

(11
)
159

   Corporates

9

11

29

49

(9
)
40

           Total Ireland
$
46

$
9

$
127

$
45

$
227

$
(20
)
$
207

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Italy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$
650

$
20

$
670

$
(947
)
$
(277
)
   Financial Institutions
3


109

117

229

(89
)
140

   Corporates
67


243

185

495

(198
)
297

           Total Italy
$
70

$

$
1,002

$
322

$
1,394

$
(1,234
)
$
160

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Portugal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$
41

$
1

$
42

$
(29
)
$
13

   Financial Institutions


2

4

6

(17
)
(11
)
   Corporates


21

116

137

(138
)
(1
)
           Total Portugal
$

$

$
64

$
121

$
185

$
(184
)
$
1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$
70

$
1

$
71

$
(97
)
$
(26
)
   Financial Institutions
6


47

453

506

(64
)
442

   Corporates


42

189

231

(41
)
190

           Total Spain
$
6

$

$
159

$
643

$
808

$
(202
)
$
606

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   Sovereign
$

$

$
769

$
123

$
892

$
(1,030
)
$
(138
)
   Financial Institutions
55


267

590

912

(204
)
708

   Corporates
67

9

318

542

936

(387
)
549

  Total
$
122

$
9

$
1,354

$
1,255

$
2,740

$
(1,621
)
$
1,119


(1)Derivative assets are carried at fair value and have been reduced by the amount of cash collateral applied of $945 million at December 31, 2011. At December 31, 2011, there was $59 million of other marketable securities collateralizing derivative assets.

51


(2)Includes $369 million of reverse repurchase agreements,which are presented based on the domicile of the counterparty consistent with Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council reporting requirements. Cross-border resale agreements where the underlying collateral is U.S. Treasury Securities are excluded from this presentation. Securities exposures are reduced by hedges and short positions on a single name basis to, but not less than $0.
(3)Represents the fair value of credit default protection purchased, including ($979) million in net credit default protection and other short positions, and ($642) million in additional credit default protection to hedge derivative assets.
(4)Represents country exposure less the fair value of hedges and credit default protection.


We hedge certain of our selected European country exposure with credit default swaps (“CDS”). The majority of our CDS contracts are with highly-rated financial institutions primarily outside of the Eurozone and we work to limit or eliminate correlated CDS. Due to our engagement in market-making activities, our CDS portfolio contains contracts with various maturities to a diverse set of counterparties.
 
In addition to our direct sovereign and non-sovereign exposures, a significant deterioration of the European debt crisis could result in material reductions in the value of sovereign debt and other asset classes, disruptions in capital markets, widening of credit spreads, loss of investor confidence in the financial services industry, a slowdown in global economic activity and other adverse developments. For additional information on the debt crisis in Europe, see Item 1A. "Risk Factors".
Losses could still result even if there is credit default protection purchased because the purchased credit protection contracts only pay out under certain scenarios and thus not all losses may be covered by the credit protection contracts. The effectiveness of our CDS protection as a hedge of these risks is influenced by a number of factors, including the contractual terms of the CDS. Generally, only the occurrence of a credit event as defined by the CDS terms (which may include, among other events, the failure to pay by, or restructuring of, the reference entity) results in a payment under the purchased credit protection contracts. The determination as to whether a credit event has occurred is made by the relevant International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. ("ISDA") Determination Committee (comprised of various ISDA member firms) based on the terms of the CDS and facts and circumstances for the event. Accordingly, uncertainties exist as to whether any particular strategy or policy action for addressing the European debt crisis would constitute a credit event under the CDS. A voluntary restructuring may not trigger a credit event under CDS terms and consequently may not trigger a payment under the CDS contract.
Derivatives

We enter into ISDA master netting agreements or their equivalent (“master netting agreements”) with almost all of our derivative counterparties. Master netting agreements provide protection in bankruptcy in certain circumstances and, in some cases, enable receivables and payables with the same counterparty to be offset for risk management purposes. Master netting agreements are generally negotiated bilaterally and can require complex terms. While we make reasonable efforts to execute such agreements, it is possible that a counterparty may be unwilling to sign such an agreement and, as a result, would subject us to additional credit risk. The enforceability of master netting agreements under bankruptcy laws in certain countries or in certain industries is not free from doubt, and receivables and payables with counterparties in these countries or industries are accordingly recorded on a gross basis.

To reduce the risk of loss, we require collateral, principally cash and U.S. government and agency securities, on certain derivative transactions. From an economic standpoint, we evaluate risk exposures net of related collateral that meets specified standards. In addition to obtaining collateral, we attempt to mitigate counterparty default risk on derivatives whenever possible by entering into transactions with provisions that enable us to terminate or reset the terms of our derivative contracts.


52


Item 8.
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM


To the Board of Directors and Stockholder of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.:

In our opinion, the accompanying consolidated balance sheets and the related consolidated statements of (loss) earnings, comprehensive (loss) income, changes in stockholder's equity and cash flows present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries (the "Company") at December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2011 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2011, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company's management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting appearing under Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express opinions on these financial statements and on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our integrated audits. We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audits of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company's internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company's assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC
New York, New York
February 23, 2012


53


Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of (Loss) Earnings
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the Year Ended
 
For the Year Ended
 
For the Year Ended
(dollars in millions)
December 31, 2011
 
December 31, 2010
 
December 31, 2009
Revenues
 

 
 

 
 

Principal transactions
$
5,928

 
$
7,074

 
$
5,121

Commissions
5,698

 
5,760

 
6,008

Managed account and other fee-based revenues
5,203

 
4,516

 
4,317

Investment banking
5,179

 
5,313

 
5,558

Earnings from equity method investments
347

 
898

 
1,679

Intercompany service fee revenue from BAC
925

 
279

 
200

Other revenues
1,855

 
4,496

 
3,622

Other-than-temporary impairment losses on available-for-sale debt securities:
 

 
 

 
 

Total other-than-temporary impairment losses on AFS debt securities
(69
)
 
(174
)
 
(660
)
Less: Portion of other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized in
 

 
 

 
 

OCI on AFS debt securities
10

 
2

 
4

Subtotal
25,076

 
28,164

 
25,849

Interest and dividend revenues
8,003

 
9,303

 
15,476

Less interest expense
8,785

 
9,621

 
12,041

Net interest (expense) income
(782
)
 
(318
)
 
3,435

Revenues, net of interest expense
24,294

 
27,846

 
29,284

 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-interest expenses
 

 
 

 
 

Compensation and benefits
15,773

 
15,069

 
13,333

Communications and technology
1,771

 
1,993

 
2,015

Occupancy and related depreciation
1,367

 
1,395

 
1,316

Brokerage, clearing, and exchange fees
1,121

 
1,022

 
1,087

Advertising and market development
500

 
444

 
396

Professional fees
1,029

 
986

 
769

Office supplies and postage
126

 
157

 
173

Provision for representations and warranties
2,731

 
(120
)
 
(235
)
Intercompany service fee expense from BAC
2,320

 
538

 
573

Other
2,250

 
2,439

 
1,868

Total non-interest expenses
28,988

 
23,923

 
21,295

Pre-tax (loss) earnings
(4,694
)
 
3,923

 
7,989

Income tax (benefit) expense
(2,946
)
 
147

 
649

Net (loss) earnings
$
(1,748
)
 
$
3,776

 
$
7,340

Preferred stock dividends

 
134

 
153

Net (loss) earnings applicable to common stockholder
$
(1,748
)
 
$
3,642

 
$
7,187

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

54


Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Comprehensive (Loss) Income
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the Year Ended
 
For the Year Ended
 
For the Year Ended
(dollars in millions)
December 31, 2011
 
December 31, 2010
 
December 31, 2009
Net (Loss) Earnings
$
(1,748
)
 
$
3,776

 
$
7,340

Other comprehensive income (loss):
 

 
 

 
 

Foreign currency translation adjustment:
 

 
 

 
 

Foreign currency translation gains (losses)
50

 
(197
)
 
(597
)
Income tax (expense) benefit
(166
)
 
240

 
691

Total
(116
)
 
43

 
94

Net unrealized gains (losses) on
investment securities available-for-sale:
 
 
 

 
 

Net unrealized holding gains (losses) arising during the period
57

 
(168
)
 
91

Reclassification adjustment for realized (gains) losses included in net (loss) earnings
(3
)
 
9

 
14

Net unrealized gains (losses) on investment securities available-for-sale
54

 
(159
)
 
105

 Income tax (expense) benefit
(21
)
 
46

 
(58
)
 Total
33

 
(113
)
 
47

Deferred (losses) gains on cash flow hedges:
 

 
 

 
 

Deferred (losses) gains on cash flow hedges
(3
)
 
32

 
72

Reclassification adjustment for realized gains included in net (loss) earnings
(6
)
 
(25
)
 
(71
)
Income tax benefit (expense)
4

 
(3
)
 
(1
)
Total
(5
)
 
4

 

Defined benefit pension and postretirement plans:
 

 
 

 
 

Net actuarial gains (losses)
111

 
(56
)
 
(417
)
Prior service credit (cost)
24

 
(59
)
 

Income tax (expense) benefit
(28
)
 
39

 
164

Total
107

 
(76
)
 
(253
)
Total other comprehensive income (loss)
19

 
(142
)
 
(112
)
Comprehensive (Loss) Income
$
(1,729
)
 
$
3,634

 
$
7,228

 
 
 
 
 
 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

55


Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(dollars in millions)
December 31,
2011
 
December 31,
2010
ASSETS
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
13,731

 
$
17,220

Cash and securities segregated for regulatory purposes or deposited with clearing organizations
11,757

 
12,424

Securities financing transactions
 

 
 

Receivables under resale agreements (includes $85,652 in 2011 and $74,255 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
143,491

 
138,219

Receivables under securities borrowed transactions (includes $259 in 2011 and $1,672 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
58,109

 
60,458

 
201,600

 
198,677

Trading assets, at fair value (includes securities pledged as collateral that can be sold or repledged of $34,932 in 2011 and $33,933 in 2010):
 

 
 

Derivative contracts
35,013

 
39,371

Equities and convertible debentures
25,619

 
34,204

Non-U.S. governments and agencies
30,239

 
22,248

Corporate debt and preferred stock
17,305

 
27,703

Mortgages, mortgage-backed, and asset-backed
8,254

 
10,994

U.S. Government and agencies
43,003

 
41,378

Municipals, money markets, physical commodities and other
13,044

 
14,759

 
172,477

 
190,657

Investment securities (includes $244 in 2011 and $310 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
6,684

 
17,769

Securities received as collateral, at fair value
13,716

 
20,363

Receivables from Bank of America
50,972

 
60,655

Other receivables
 

 
 

Customers (net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $15 in 2011 and $8 in 2010)
20,512

 
22,080

Brokers and dealers
8,691

 
16,483

Interest and other
9,130

 
10,633

 
38,333

 
49,196

Loans, notes, and mortgages (net of allowances for loan losses of $72 in 2011 and $170 in 2010) (includes $2,322 in 2011 and $3,190 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
20,574

 
25,803

Equipment and facilities, net
1,385

 
1,712

Goodwill and intangible assets
9,404

 
9,714

Other assets
15,155

 
17,436

Total Assets
$
555,788

 
$
621,626

 
 
 
 
Assets of Consolidated VIEs Included in Total Assets Above (pledged as collateral)
 

 
 

Trading assets, excluding derivative contracts
$
8,800

 
$
10,838

Derivative contracts

 
41

Investment securities
162

 
309

Loans, notes, and mortgages (net)
94

 
221

Other assets
3,022

 
1,597

Total Assets of Consolidated VIEs
$
12,078

 
$
13,006

 
 
 
 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
 
 

56


Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(dollars in millions)
December 31,
2011
 
December 31,
2010
LIABILITIES
 

 
 

Securities financing transactions
 

 
 

Payables under repurchase agreements (includes $34,235 in 2011 and 37,394 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
$
173,767

 
$
183,758

Payables under securities loaned transactions
11,460

 
15,251

 
185,227

 
199,009

Short-term borrowings (includes $5,908 in 2011 and $6,472 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
6,051

 
15,248

Deposits
12,364

 
12,826

Trading liabilities, at fair value
 

 
 

Derivative contracts
26,239

 
32,197

Equities and convertible debentures
12,223

 
14,026

Non-U.S. governments and agencies
16,554

 
15,705

Corporate debt and preferred stock
7,084

 
9,500

U.S. Government and agencies
16,976

 
24,747

Municipals, money markets and other
645

 
571

 
79,721

 
96,746

Obligation to return securities received as collateral, at fair value
13,716

 
20,363

Payables to Bank of America
31,779

 
23,021

Other payables
 

 
 

Customers
40,153

 
39,045

Brokers and dealers
8,667

 
12,895

Interest and other (includes $173 in 2011 and $165 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
18,099

 
19,900

 
66,919

 
71,840

Long-term borrowings (includes $30,325 in 2011 and $39,214 in 2010 measured at fair value in accordance with the fair value option election)
107,118

 
128,851

Junior subordinated notes (related to trust preferred securities)
3,600

 
3,576

Total Liabilities
506,495

 
571,480

 
 
 
 
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES


 


 
 
 
 
STOCKHOLDER'S EQUITY
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
Common stock (par value $1.331/3 per share; authorized: 3,000,000,000 shares; issued: 2011 and 2010 — 1,000 shares)

 

Paid-in capital
41,292

 
40,416

Accumulated other comprehensive loss (net of tax)
(235
)
 
(254
)
Retained earnings
8,236

 
9,984

Total Stockholder's Equity
49,293

 
50,146

 
 
 
 
Total Liabilities and Stockholder's Equity
$
555,788

 
$
621,626

 
 
 
 
Liabilities of Consolidated VIEs Included in Total Liabilities Above
 

 
 

Short-term borrowings
$
4,939

 
$
4,642

Derivative contracts
4

 
1

Payables to Bank of America

 
2

Other payables
186

 
53

Long-term borrowings
6,595

 
6,674

Total Liabilities of Consolidated VIEs
$
11,724

 
$
11,372

 
 
 
 
See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

57


Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Stockholder's Equity
(dollars in millions)
Preferred Stock
Common Stock
Additional Paid-in-Capital
Retained
Earnings
Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
(Loss) Income
Treasury Stock, at Cost
Total
Stockholder's
Equity
Balance December 31, 2008
$
8,605

$
2,709

$
47,232

$
(8,756
)
$
(6,318
)
$
(23,622
)
$
19,850

Effect of BAC acquisition
(7,064
)
(2,709
)

8,756

6,318

23,622

28,923

Effect of purchase accounting adjustments


(19,669
)



(19,669
)
Cash capital contribution from BAC


6,850




6,850

BAC contribution of BASH


3,677




3,677

BAC contribution of BAI


263




263

Capital contribution associated with stock-based compensation awards


388




388

Foreign currency translation adjustment




94


94

Net unrealized gains on investment securities available-for-sale




47


47

Change in funded status of defined benefit pension and post retirement plans




(253
)

(253
)
Net earnings



7,340



7,340

Preferred stock dividends declared



(153
)


(153
)
Cash dividends paid to BAC



(700
)


(700
)
Balance December 31, 2009
1,541


38,741

6,487

(112
)

46,657

Mandatory conversion of preferred stock
(1,541
)





(1,541
)
Capital contribution associated with stock-based compensation awards


1,447




1,447

Other capital contributions from BAC


228




228

Foreign currency translation adjustment




43


43

Net unrealized losses on investment securities available-for-sale