BofA caves in! Bank joins Protocol platform
Plan announced for combined brokerage platform to join Protocol for Recruiting Brokers
Wed 5 Nov 2008
To: All Merrill Lynch and BAI financial advisors
On October 24, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch announced transition programs for retaining financial advisors. Today, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are pleased to announce a plan for the combined brokerage platform to be a member of the Protocol for Recruiting Brokers. This is one of the initial decisions coming out of the transition assessment process that is currently underway in preparation for Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, which is scheduled to close on or after December 31, 2008, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated is currently a member of the protocol and will remain a member after the transaction closes. Merrill Lynch FAs will continue to be able to move between protocol member firms as permitted by the protocol.
Banc of America Investment Services, Inc. (BAI) is not currently a member of the protocol. The transition team is currently determining the specifics of how and when BAI will become a member of the protocol. Additional details will be communicated prior to the closing of the merger.
“Today’s announcement is one example of how we’re moving quickly to bring together Bank of America and Merrill Lynch,” said Keith Banks, president of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management division. “This work will help ensure we maximize the benefits of this combination to better serve our clients.”
“We were one of three founding members of the recruiting protocol,” added Robert McCann, vice chairman and president, Global Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch. “Over the last few years, it has worked well for both our Financial Advisors and our clients."
If you have any questions, please contact your manager.
Wow. This is phenomenal news for the BAI folks. So does this mean that a lot of the harsh wording in the retention package is meaningless (if we go to another Protocol firm)?
I have no clue. I am assuming we should hear more soon but my guess is they will have little choice but to amend the contract. Oh and yes this is great news for BAI guys that want to leave the firm gowing forward.
Saw this late yesterday. Don’t quite understand how MER will remain part of the protocol after the transaction closes if BAC is not yet a member. Maybe BAC will take MER’s protocol in exchange for MER taking BAC’s grid
This is stunning. I eat a big fat crow that was pancaked on the asphault runover by 18 wheelers for 3 days…Never thought BAC would buckle. The Economy and the Band of Brothers at MER broke their @*$&#&%#-ing will. All hail MER.....now get the hell out of there. You still dont want to work there. You got what you wanted which was a free pass to LEAVE. BIG MONSTER CONGRATS!!!!!
“The transition team is currently determining the specifics of how and when BAI will become a member of the protocol.”BAI will become a member and we will get MER grid.....I've herd top management say that twice. I think people are expecting BAC to steam roll MER. What folks don't take into account is 16,000 FA's with hudge mouths and ego's plus the 2,000 at BAI. God I love MER guys allready! They will help out all the BAI guys like me. Keep it up mother Merill.....
As I understand it, all this means is this…
1) instead a ‘rushing’ out the door, it will be a steady flow as it becomes more clear how much BAI will hose the firm. AND THEY WILL. Advisors will leave every Friday through Q4 , and well into 09’
2) FA can ‘accept’ deal on or before 11/14, take retention money at close of deal, negotiate deal elsewhere over coming months, give notice down the road, pay back funds and leave if they follow protocol.
3) Only risk is how aggressive BAI pursues them, but if protocol is adhered to, there will be little harm.
I think that any movement towards improving the legal position/language of the Transition Package Agreement is window dressing at best. Ken Lewis has made it abundantly clear he plans to put his BofA stamp on Mother Merrill. In his 60 Minutes interview, he made it very clear he feels Wall Street Executives (to be fair - not specifically mentioning FA’s) are way overpaid. AND up until now, BofA’s FA’s have been on a lower compensation schedule. A commercial banking model focuses on deposits, loans and managing internal expenses. And what is one of the biggest expenses @ MER: Financial Advisor payout!