I’m interested in kowing if certain wirehouses discourage assets below a certain amount, and if so why? One member explained to me why ML doesn’t want to take in anything below $50K due to “costs”.
Most wires will have standards like that. MWD may start imposing such standards. From my knowledge, Gorman was a big piece in that puzzle at Merrill and may raise the bar at MWD. Wires don’t want FAs working with $1000 accounts.
It’s not so much the “costs”, as the exposure. Management makes it clear, if you have a prospect with a $37,000 IRA, and they may be a good referral source, have more money elsewhere or show potential of becomming a larger client, by all means, keep them on your books. If you look at most books of business, you will scroll down to the smaller accounts, and you will see a host of clients with 10k - 20k in assetts, most of who will never become more - not to mention, the advisor is not servicing them. Well, what happens when one of these clients becomes disgruntled, and makes a complaint against the advisor and firm…IT…COSTS…MONEY…in arbitration, and in many other ways. Does it really make sense to open the firm up to that liability, for an account that nobody is making money on, and the advisor has no relationship with???
Today's WSJ (9/14/05) has a good article addressing this issue. ("Morgan Stanley Sees Salvation At Higher End")
Here is an excerpt: "During the 1990s stock-market mania, Merrill was the first to acknowledge another pitfall of the old ways: The little guys drained broker time and ran up expenses. So Merrill began transferring client accounts with under $100,000 into a call center, suffering some bad publicity but ultimately keeping most clients, it says. Merrill also reduced what it paid brokers to service small accounts."
This is business (obviously) and in my opinion, as well as many others, small accounts are bad for business. I agree to all above that Moneyadvisor said. They are costly in tangible and intangible ways. Even at the "bank", I have taken on one household below $50,000, and that was because the platform girl at the branch is a good referrer, and she doesn't like doing mutual funds at all.
I'd rather have 1 $100,00 account than 5 $20,000 accounts any day of the week.