Merrill Lynch advanced all of its retail brokers four days worth of production this month, in an attempt to help brokers through an extraordinarily tough month.
Reps already faced a short 19-day month in September because of the Labor Day holiday, and then took an unexpected hit when the market shut down for four days following the Sept. 11 attacks, says a spokesperson.
In their September paychecks, all brokers received a draw equal to four days worth of their average daily pay on transaction business for the year 2000. Although the advance will be deducted from October payouts, producers keep the four days worth of production credits, the spokesperson says.
October is longer month than September, with 23 business days. For brokers with a large fee business, Merrill’s offer is more symbolic than profitable.
Still, one fee-heavy broker in New England called the advance “a nice gesture.” Another broker wasn’t so charitable, calling the advance “practically meaningless.”
At First Union Securities, brokers already have a permanent draw system in place, according to Brand Meyer, president of the company’s Financial Services Group. “Although it wasn’t designed for an event like this, it adequately deals with such situations,” he says.
A spokesperson for A.G. Edwards said the firm would not comment on compensation matters. Morgan Stanley, PaineWebber and Prudential did not immediately return calls.
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