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Merrill Lynch Headcount, Assets Flat in Q2

Merrill Lynch Headcount, Assets Flat in Q2

Bank of America’s global wealth and investment management group, which includes Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust, reported net income of $543 million in the second quarter, up from $513 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the second quarter totaled $4.3 billion, down from $4.5 billion in 2011.

Merrill Lynch revenues slipped to $3.6 billion from $3.8 billion a year ago, while client balances for the Merrill brokerage business were flat at $1.8 trillion. Assets under management rose to $682 million, up 3 percent on the year. Net new assets under management totaled $4.0 billion for the quarter, with strong “long-term” fee-based assets flows offset by a narrow drop in short-term trading asset flows. In the second quarter of last year, net asset flows came to just $764 million.  

Merrill’s thundering herd of financial advisors added 22 new bodies, bringing total headcount up to 17,543, but annualized revenues per advisor shrank to $915,000 from $965,000 in the year-ago quarter.

Bank of America is expecting to finish its second phase of cost-cutting, BAC 2, which includes the wealth management business, by the end of 2015, with total savings of $3 billion over that time. On a conference call Wednesday morning, executives said they expect a third of the cost-savings program to be implemented each year.

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