Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc, and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers L.P. by the Law Firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP -- MER

Radnor, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

BALA CYNWYD, Pa., May 27, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The following statement was issued today by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP:

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all purchasers of the mutual funds carrying the "Merrill Lynch" brand name ("MLIM Funds") from May 20, 1999 to the present, inclusive (the "Class Period").

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP (Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Stuart L. Berman, Esq.) toll free at 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at

The complaint charges that Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. ("Merrill Lynch & Co.") (NYSE:MER), Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc. ("Merrill Lynch"), and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers L.P., ("MLIM" or "Asset Managers") violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market between May 20, 1999 and the present. Defendants viewed Merrill Lynch's clients primarily as a vehicle for generating investment management fees so that Asset Managers could achieve its own financial goals and increase the profitability of the ultimate corporate parent. The defendant's primary duty of loyalty was not to its clients and achievement of the clients' financial goals. More specifically, nowhere do defendants state that their recommendations are not based on their understanding of their clients' financial personal needs, but rather, solely or primarily on their incentives to increase assets under MLIM's management. Moreover, Merrill Lynch's undisclosed incentive to promote MLIM Funds clearly presented a conflict of interest, pitting the financial interest of Merrill Lynch's registered representatives against that of its clients. Rather than disclose these conflicts, defendants sought to conceal the truth in order to promote their fraudulent scheme of generating substantial assets for Asset Managers.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of class members and is represented by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, which prosecutes class actions on behalf of investors and shareholders. For more information on Schiffrin & Barroway, or to sign-up to participate in this action online, please visit

If you are a member of the class described above, you may, not later than July 19, 2004, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Schiffrin & Barroway, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.


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