Merrill Earnings Surge Even as Broker Headcount Sinks

Merrill Earnings Surge Even as Broker Headcount Sinks

Merrill Lynch brokers, and bullish markets for most of the past year, helped Bank of America in the second quarter reach all-time highs in wealth management revenue, profit and profit margins as well as in loans and asset management fees.

One number that is not rising, though, is broker headcount: the bank's ranks of financial advisers plunged by 1,005, or 6 percent, to 15,759 from the year-ago period. That headcount number, meanwhile, includes 1,587 associates who work for

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