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Famous investors – Charles Merril


As one of the most admired brokers of all the times, Charles Merril has founded the company who commoditised the shares trading. He took advantage of his retail experience and made investing simple and cheap. gives you below a hint on how he made it…





1885 Born.

1907 Moves to New York to work for Patchogue-Plymouth Mills.

1911 Article ‘Mr Average Investor’ published in

Leslie’s Weekly

1914 Founds Merrill, Lynch & Co with Edmund Lynch.

1928 Writes to clients advising them that ‘now is a time to get out of debt’.

1940 Pierce & Co merges with Merrill Lynch.

1944 Suffers multiple heart attacks.

1947 Merrill Lynch largest retailer of stocks in United States.

1956 Dies.



Co-founder of the first chain of stockbrokers, Charles Merrill brought stock ownership  tothe masses. In doing so he helped to shift capitalism from a relatively small base of rich investors to a much broader cross section of US society, a process that has continued in recent years with the advent of online trading. Merrill came to stockbroking by chance. A broken romance led him to the hubbub of Wall Street when he left the textile company Patchogue-Plymouth Mills and joined the bond department of George H. Burr & Co.

As early as 1911 Merrill was contemplating the merits of wider share ownership. He articulated his radical ideas in the article ‘Mr Average Investor’. He also became anexpert on the financing of the relatively new concept of chain stores. It was a chain-store approach that he brought to stockbroking. With his friend Edmund Lynch, he founded Merrill, Lynch & Co in 1914. He then successfully steered the firm through the maelstrom of the 1929 Wall Street Crash. After the second world war, with the expanded firm of Merrill Lynch, EA Pierce, and Cassatt, Merrill fulfilled his vision of bringing share ownership to the masses. By 1947 Merrill Lynch was the largest retailer of stocks in the United States, with $6,200,000 worth of sales and an advertising bill of some $400,000.

 Plagued by ill health, Merrill was forced to take a back seat, and died in 1956.

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