Born October 19, 1885 in Green Grove Springs, Florida, Charles Merrill was an economic hero of the industrial revolution. He changed the way America's economy worked, and still works to this day. He brought the capability of investing and the promise of economic achievement to the common investor. By taking away the power of Wall Street from the big investors and spreading it out through small investors, he helped to create the economic model in use today. His contributions to America's finances are immense. His company, Merrill Lynch (started in 1940), is the largest investment firm in America. Because of Charles Merrill, the stock market no longer belongs to insiders - it belongs to all of us. He emphasized knowledge about companies and long-term investments instead of the buying-and-selling that led to the stock market crash that started the Great Depression. He even predicted the crash months in advance, but nobody believed him. He did advise all of his clients, and even other companies, to sell everything they had before they lost it all. His fairness and competence changed the stock market from an insider-based controlled and manipulated Wall Street-plaything to what we know it as today: a method for any small investor to make money by investing in companies. Without Charles Merrill, the stock market would not be what it is today.
1. TIME 100: Builders & Titans - Charles Merrill