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Von Aldo

Is Mother Merrill Being "Dismantled" by Bank of America?

There is an interesting thread (okay, a short thread, but interesting) developing on the Merrill Lynch Alumni group forum on LinkedIn. We have all heard some financial advisors gripe about being owned by a bank (push to sell banking products, too much bureaucracy, bankers are not entreprenuers . . . and the like). Of course, FAs I talk to like the fact that clients can go to any one of the zillion BoA branches (Ticker: BAC) and deposit money into their ML brokerage accounts. I would like to hear from ML FAs or recent "escapees" about the comments below.

We have written about FAs anger at "becoming Charles Schwab" (Ticker: SCHW) with the Merrill Edge, do-it-yourself platform. And there have been cost cuts since Brian Moynihan took over in January 2010. One thing to note is that last year in our annual Advisor Report Card survey, published every December for the last 21 years (our survey is in the field right now), Merrill advisors graded their firm decently --- not awesome but not horrrible.

In addition, there are threads of discussions on our Advisor Forums on Merrill . . . Also, I blogged about the persistent rumors that BoA is looking to sell Merrill.

Here is the thread I alluded to and I would love to hear from readers about the comments below:

Marco M. Elser  We are actively searching for successful brokers who for one reason or another are going to be leaving Merrill Lynch. I worked ten fabulous years there and believe that the traditional model of serving clients still has its validity... It is a shame that such a great franchise is being dismantled. Obviously the people at BAC are throwing away the baby with the bathwater...

Michael Crouch  I agree, Marco. I have (had?) the same respect for the "old" Merrill, her people and her service model. That's why my private practice door is open to Merrill alumns, too. 

I continue to find amazement in how the bank mentality handles advisors and the advisors' clients (did you catch the statement "the advisors' clients"?). I guess they're doing our businesses a favor because we, our services and commitment, are the product the clients want and need.

Betsy Thomas  I agree as well Marco and Michael! the "old" Mother Merrill may be gone, but, We are trying like Heck to re-create it over here and UBS! McCann and Mulholland are doing a great job.


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