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Oct 29, 2008 9:06 am

I’m going to help all you ml brokers producing under 1m deciding on your transition package. Leave! Bac is a horrible company to work for period. The “package” is just the start of your troubles.

  I worked for them for 4 years and it only got worse with each passing year. Comp changes every year, hold backs every year. lies, more and more hurdles to jump over just to get the commission owed to you. never a good situation. If you remember anything before you sign that "package" Remember this:   A horrible company to work for. They will always be taking your hard earned money from you and will always make your life miserable.   I left to go indy. Best decision I ever made. Leave now or forever regret your bad decision. Good luck.
Oct 29, 2008 12:11 pm

  I completely agree with the past statement.  ML brokers will begin to see what a vacuum cleaner looks like.  GRIDS absolutely change every year.  It’s nearly impossible to work with managed money in a program which changes GRIDS every year.  You think your fees are “X” and they end up “Y” due to the changes.  I worked for BAC for 3 years as an FA and in management.  I couldn’t drink the juice anymore and had to go independent.  I’m a 20 year veteran in the business and couldn’t take it anymore.

For those who your own show, create your own destiny, build your practice like you want it and focus on what's important to you and your clients.  Think of the retention package as payment for lost commissions/fees you'll give up due to  the GRIDS and the association with BAC. Look at the way they messed up MBNA.  It is possible to be a master of nothing when you don't specialize in anything.  The verdict is still out on the financial supermarket model.  I don't think it's going to work.  If BAC is smart, they'll let Merrill run the show, they'll kick out all their banking "so-called" experts in charge of the brokerage business, and let Merrill FA's soar.  
Oct 29, 2008 12:40 pm

This is a surprising post given what I’ve heard from a friend who is an FA with BAC. Of course he was never with a traditional brokerage so he doesn’t have a basis for comparison. He originally was an FE with Citibank and moved to BAC in 2004. He swears by the place. I suppose the fact that he was exposed to substantially more assets with BAC than when @ C, its still interesting to hear his endorsements and the comments above. Despite what he says, I’m inclined to agree with what you guys are saying. I really expect the BAC culture to inundate the ML culture. I already know of a team of 4 FA’s from ML in my area preparing to move their appx $270 Million book to RBC Wealth Management. In fact just yesterday they met with the RBC manager for breakfast.

  The financial supermarket model can work in my opinion but its going to take time. It is simply too many different cultures that need to be molded together and considering that this has all begun to take place in the last 10 years is simply not enough time to render a verdict as to whether or not it will be succesful. The failure I've seen in the Financial Supermarket model is the failure of management to properly integrate entities. Jaime Dimond (sp?) is the exception to this. Citigroup failed miserably, Wachovia failed miserably and BAC has failed, although not as bad as the prior. BAC's biggest problem is overpaying for assets and balance those faults by screwing with compensation.   But again, I think not enough time has passed to determine whether or not this model is a winner yet.
Oct 29, 2008 1:28 pm

My guess is that one of three things will happen:

1. The above issues will come to fruition and ML will become a horrible place to work. 2. BAC will surprise everyone and leave Merrill alone to do their thing, and Merrill is stronger because of it (all the financial backing of a powerhouse, without the baggage). 3. OR, BAC will leave them alone, wait out this financial calamity, then sell Merrill for a huge profit in 3-5 years.  I think this is less likely, since they probably jumped the gun too early in making their deal (they didn't get a "screaming" bargain).  But I suppose if they had let it go much further, there may have been another suitor in line.
Nov 1, 2008 1:52 pm

how about this, since there are only a few megaconglomerates now, fees will go up for consumers and payouts will inevitably go down for all brokers.  this is the only logical thing to happen in the industry. BAC has always wanted to follow the european brokerage model that is far more profitable than the us model.  which means salary plus bonus.  no more commissions.  remember BAC has tried to do this in the past and failed but now with all the changes, i think the timing for them to implement this comp structure is going to be more favorable in the next few years. they will slowly squeeze everyone including the merrill guys. the noose will tighten slowly but surely