Stan O’Neal, chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, says the company is accelerating its hiring of financial advisors.
In an article published in the Financial Times, O’Neal says the commitment to adding brokerage staff is part of Merrill’s rededication to its retail operations. He specifically aims to shift the firm’s revenue-gathering efforts so that half of profits are generated by retail wealth management services. Wealth management, which include the firm’s brokerage operations, currently accounts for about a third of Merrill’s profits.
“We can grow that profit stream [wealth management] to be commensurate with what we are seeing on the institutional side over a period of time and through the cycle,” the FT, quoted O’Neal as saying.
He offered no specifics about timing or the number of advisors to be hired.
The article also debunked Merrill’s oft-rumored desire to acquire a large consumer bank. O’Neal says he foresees some strategic acquisitions but that Merrill is not looking for a “transformational” deal.