Merrill Lynch Discontinues Defined Asset Funds

April 16, 2001 ( - Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) says it will discontinue the creation of Defined Asset Funds, also known as unit investment trusts (UITs), in the US.

Merrill says it will continue to provide the necessary service and support to those financial advisors with clients currently invested in the funds. The financial advisors will in turn work with clients to discuss their investment options as funds mature or are liquidated.

A unit investment trust is a collection of investment vehicles (stocks and/or bonds) which are bundled together in a common “container” or trust. The creators of the trust, a concept originated in the 1970s, allow individual investors to purchase a “slice” of the trust “pie” for a fixed sum of money. The slice is called a “unit”.

Merrill Lynch stock fell slightly on the news which comes on the heels of the announcement last week that the company is weighing selective staff cuts across all businesses.

MLIM has more than $550 billion under management.