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Will MER Brokers Stay at BAC?

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Jan 7, 2009 3:00 pm
uhhh much for da hallowed protocol Will Merrill Brokers Stay at Bank of America ?

Many Merrill Lynch brokers are reportedly considering leaving the firm now that it has been acquired by Bank of America. Some are disturbed by a dramatic change in policy that may affect the portability of their client base in the future -- prompting many to consider whether now is the best time to jump ship.

Bank of America, the new parent of Merrill Lynch, has offered Merrill's 17,760 Registered Representatives a written job offer -- in the form of a retention agreement -- which they must accept or reject by November 14, 2008. If the brokers accept the agreement it will substantially change the way they are allowed to deal with customer information in the event they later leave the firm.

The previous agreement with Merrill Lynch allowed for brokers to keep some private client information which ultimately can be used to move clients to their new firm. The firm was a party to the so-called "protocol" by which other signatory firms agreed to allow some freedom of transfer of clients between firms. This was part of a carefully crafted culture by which Merrill chose to demonstrate that it did not fear losing reps or clients because it treated its brokers well. The new retention agreement and the policy regarding departing brokers warns Bank of America reps (formerly Merrill reps) that Bank of America can obtain a restraining order against any defecting brokers who choose to leave the firm and take clients with them.

Of course, any broker contemplating leaving the firm should strongly consider obtaining counsel to apprise them of their legal rights, and should carefully review all applicable policies and agreements they have signed. See this post at for further information.

Page Perry, LLC is an Atlanta-based law firm which represents employees in securities industry employment related litigation and arbitration. While past results are not indicative of future success, Page Perry’s attorneys have recovered over $1,000,000 for clients on more than 30 occasions. For further information, please contact us.

Jan 7, 2009 3:20 pm

They’re continuing to ‘trickle’ out… no droves, no mass exodus… just a trickle that will continue for years as BAC sinks it’s teeth into ML one small step at a time.  5 years from now I’m willing to be anyone left at ML will be telling stories around the watercooler about the good ol’ days those ‘guys’ that used to work there.

Jan 8, 2009 12:59 pm

The lucky ones will leave.  The good ones should leave, and the unfortunate ones will wish they had left.

Jan 8, 2009 8:45 pm

Not sure if they’re good, lucky or unfortunate but the execs are sure bailing!

Jan 8, 2009 11:54 pm

Not sure if they’re good, lucky or unfortunate but the execs are sure bailing!

  Certainly is accurate.  Four senior guys in four days this week.  Wonder who leaves tomorrow?
Jan 10, 2009 4:07 am

Article on bloombergs website:
Jan 10, 2009 8:13 pm

Great article.  Thanks for the link.

Jan 10, 2009 8:23 pm


Still saddening.  ML.  Gone.  Unstoppable.  An icon.  It’s like the NY Yankees.  Gone.  Well, still there, but not the same.  Sad. 


Give Stanley O’Neal 3 years as GM of the Yankees and I bet he could run them into the ground too…between rounds of golf of course.