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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Update on Merrill's Project Thunder

This episode takes a look at Merrill's attempt to stave off increasing advisor attrition.


While this topic is specific to Merrill, it’s certainly not meant to be an indictment against the firm. It’s an example of the growing pains experienced at any of the larger bank-owned firms as they struggle to balance growth and revenue—while managing thousands of advisors and creating layers of guidance designed to serve many.

For example, in an attempt to stave off increasing advisor attrition by addressing some of the frustrations expressed by their advisors, Merrill Lynch rolled out a campaign called Project Thunder.

Since its launch over the summer, there remains some unanswered questions:

  • Does the campaign resolve what’s really bugging advisors most?
  • Will these measures work to halt the tide of attrition?
  • Or to put it another way, is it too little too late?

This episode explores the answers to those questions and more, plus delves into what we’re hearing from advisors: 

  1. Many want to take a “wait and see” approach. Is there any risk to staying put?
  2. Advisors are growing at record rates—especially this year. Why mess with success?
  3. Is Project Thunder the beginning of greater acknowledgement by Bank of America that there are changes that need to be made to stave off further attrition?
  4. And, ultimately, what can advisors expect in the coming months?

To be sure, Merrill is a world-class firm with a strong platform, technology stack and brand respected more than most in the industry. And it wouldn’t take much to get advisors to stay put.

And this is true of any large firm: Advisors don’t need all of their needs to be addressed. What advisors do want is to feel connected. They want to feel as though they are being heard. And they want to retain some agency over their business lives.

Listen to learn more about how these changes impact employee advisors at all ranks at Merrill and other large firms.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change.

Mindy Diamond is CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.

TAGS: Industry
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