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Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Candid Conversation with Merrill's Andy Sieg

The leader of one of the top brokerage firms in the wealth management world, Andy Sieg, president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, joins the show for a candid one-on-one interview with Mindy Diamond.


We’ve come a long way.

That is, a show that just 5 years ago propagated from roots in educating advisors on the independent landscape, to today, a truly seminal moment.

Because in this episode, we’re taking a big leap outside of our initial directive to share the mic with the leader of one of the most recognized brokerage firms in the wealth management world.

That is, Andy Sieg, president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Not an independent firm, but instead one of the top wirehouses that the industry was founded upon.

It’s a history that dates back to 1914 when Charles E. Merrill, a bond dealer, founded a small investment-banking firm and later took on a partner, Edmund C. Lynch.

The resulting collaboration, Merrill, Lynch & Company, prospered by specializing in underwriting the securities of chain stores. Over the course of decades, and a number of mergers and acquisitions, the firm grew to become of the leading financial institutions in the world.

Yet, suffering billions in losses in the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch in a transaction that rocked the financial services world.

Today, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management reportedly manages nearly $3 trillion in client assets with some 20,000 advisors including trainees and private bankers (formerly known as US Trust advisors).

But for all that, many Merrill advisors feel that the Bank of America takeover changed the culture of the firm. And despite record growth, a not insignificant number of top advisors have opted for other firms or models.

So what’s really going on at Merrill? Andy shares his perspective on what’s top-of-mind for Merrill advisors, including:

  • The influence of Bank of America on Merrill’s culture, solutions, and platform—and how that impacts the advisors and their clients.
  • The notion of “Mother Merrill”—and how that has changed over recent years.
  • The firm’s emphasis on growth—and how it correlates with advisor mindset.
  • Merrill’s view on teaming—and what they see as the benefits to clients and advisors.
  • The rationale behind the growth grid—and Andy’s view of its success and progress.
  • The firm’s attrition—and how he perceives movement from the firm.
  • The role of competitive recruiting—and what his thinking is around transition deals.
  • The growth of independent models—and how that compares to the value of a fully-integrated firm, as well as whether they plan to introduce an independent channel.
  • Plus, Andy shares his vision for the future growth and strategy of the firm.

As the “standard bearer of culture,” it’s leaders like Andy Sieg who are responsible for setting the goals and direction for their firms. And in a world where the mindsets of advisors and their clients have changed dramatically, the burden of managing change rests solely on the leadership.

It’s one of our most anticipated episodes—one in which listeners get to peek behind the curtain and hear from the leader of the Thundering Herd.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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