Firm says 75% of brokers who stuck around will collect $100,000 or more.
In February, an undisclosed number of Merrill Lynch reps will begin receiving $100,000 checks from the firm. The bonuses were promised to brokers in 1991 as part of a 10-year incentive program called Investment Certificates.
Although Merrill officials decline to say exactly how many checks will be distributed or what the total cost will be, one producer says the $100,000 rewards will mean "a nice payday for lots of brokers."
According to Merrill spokesperson Susan Thomson, all retail brokers working in 1991 and eligible to participate in the program were automatically enrolled.
To qualify, brokers had to meet certain production growth numbers, which varied depending on length of service. Ten years later, roughly 75% of those brokers eligible in 1991 are still with the firm and will be receiving checks, according to Thomson.
"That is just a fantastic measure of our success with this program," Thomson says.
In addition to the $100,000 windfall, brokers who reached their 10-year goals earlier than 2001 will receive an extra 5% annual bonus for each year remaining after they hit their goal. For example, a broker who hit his numbers in seven years will be receiving a check for $115,000 - $5,000 for each of the three years he finished ahead of schedule.
Thomson also confirmed that Merrill is allowing producers to roll the money over into the firm's deferred compensation plan.
"They promised to find a way to allow us to defer that money, and they have," says one broker.
Another producer who hit his 10-year goal earlier than expected says he plans to open a Merrill Lynch Consults account with his newfound cash.