Alan Schroder, new head of Bank of America’s Individual Investor group, said in an interview with Registered Rep. that his plans for the group include expanding its investment consultant force and expanding training initiatives, probably through a relationship with a university, to continue to educate the force.
Schroder was named president of this group, which provides investment and financial planning to more than one million affluent and high-net-worth clients–people with at least $50,000 in assets and up to $5 million in assets. Formerly an advisory director and executive vice president at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Schroder begins work at the bank on Feb. 11.
Bank of America, which has 27 million customers, serves its affluent asset base through 4,000 advisors that hold Series 6 or Series 7 licenses; it’s this group that Schroder plans to expand on. "We have a strong core of professional advisors at the present time, but it’s certainly not the number of people we’d like to see," he said. "I hope to build on the momentum that the bank’s got right now… many people never viewed the banks as an alternative. But that’s changing, and is continuing to change in a dramatic way over the next five to 10 years."
Schroder said he sees the advisory business clearly moving towards a model where much of the work is handled in a fee-based environment rather than a transactional model, but acknowledged that not all accounts will work that way, and that too often, "the industry has been guilty" of trying to fit clients to a one-size-fits-all mold.
The individual investor group, part of Bank of America Asset Management, counts nearly $100 billion in client assets. The company has previously said it wants to expand its product offerings, including derivatives, private equity placements and other alternative investments.
Schroder said, in addition, that he’s likely to plan on using a training program through a major university, similar to a program implemented at Morgan Stanley with the Wharton School of Business, to educate brokers about the changes in the industry. "Some of the best reviews we had of senior brokers were those that went through the Wharton program," he said.