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Career Conversations: Financial Solutions Advisor at Bank of America (Finance)

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Bofa Sheds Over 400 Advisors As Aum Grows

Asia Martin | Jul 14, 2021

Bank of Americas wealth management unit lost 423 advisors in the second quarter. Despite its attrition, the business unit raked in record assets under management, asset management fees and new clients.

BofAs advisor headcount, which includes advisors in the private bank, the consumer investments business and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, was at 19,385 at the end of the second quarter, down 2% sequentially, according to its earnings results released on Wednesday.

Related:Merrills Andy Sieg Believes the Best Is Yet to Come for Wealth Management

The number of advisors has been on a decline since the second quarter of last year when the headcount peaked at 20,622 advisors. Year over year, the firm lost 1,237 advisors, or 6.4% of its headcount.

The company attributed the decline to slower hiring into its financial advisor development program and the small number of trainees who opted to discontinue the program. A senior executive said the company was encouraging them to accept other positions within the company.

Related:Merrills New Training Program to Focus on Developing Bank Talent

BofA did not comment on the number of advisors it shed over the past several quarters.

In May, Merrill revealed details about its new advisor development training program, which now includes a ban on cold-calling and a shorter period to complete the program, from 36 to 18 months.

The results underscore our scale and momentum, the senior executive said.

Financial Advisor Summer Analyst Program

Job Description & Program Overview

Merrill Lynch provides a high-touch client experience through a network of approximately 15,000 client facing Financial Advisors to our affluent customers with a personal wealth profile of at least $250,000 of investable assets. We help our clients pursue their personal and financial goals, uncover concerns and priorities, and develop portfolios that align resources to their needs.

Our Financial Advisor Summer Internship is designed to provide a foundation in understanding the financial services industry, the advisory business and our Financial Advisor career track. You will gain exposure to key aspects of the wealth management division including various investment vehicles, relationship building and client support. Our structured 10 week program offers a national curriculum and extensive on the job training with experienced Financial Advisors in addition to educational speaker events, coaching and mentorship throughout.

As an intern, your key tasks and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

  • Conducting product, market and client research
  • Developing business acumen and understanding of the markets
  • Providing dedicated administrative and sales support to Financial Advisors
  • Building and maintaining relationships with clients providing exceptional client service
  • Assisting in business development and marketing
  • Reporting and analysis
  • Completing weekly learning activities and ad-hoc projects


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Tips For Finding A Financial Advisor

  • Finding a qualified financial advisor doesnt have to be hard. SmartAssets free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If youre ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Consider what you’re looking for in a financial advisor and how much you have to invest. This can narrow down the search as many financial advisors have specific areas of expertise, such as retirement planning and estate planning. You want to ensure you find an advisor to work with who can meet your needs.

How Do We Review Brokers

Fit For King: Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Advisor Repeats Award ...

NerdWallets comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each providers performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor to excellent .

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

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Merrill Guided Investing

*Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.

**Other fees may apply. Sales of ETFs are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs and mutual funds. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit

1Diversification, asset allocation and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. As with other investments, mutual funds and ETFs are subject to market conditions and other associated risks. There is no guarantee that any specific fund or investment strategy will meet its investment objectives.

3BofA Global Research is research produced by BofA Securities, Inc. and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofAS is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

Investment products, insurance and annuity products:

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Sale To Bank Of America

Significant losses were attributed to the drop in value of its large and unhedged mortgage portfolio in the form of collateralized debt obligations. Trading partners’ loss of confidence in Merrill Lynch’s solvency and ability to refinance money market obligations ultimately led to its sale. During the week of September 8, 2008, Lehman Brothers came under severe liquidity pressures, with its survival in question. If Lehman Brothers failed, investors were afraid that the contagion could spread to the other surviving investment banks. On Sunday, September 14, 2008, Bank of America announced it was in talks to purchase Merrill Lynch for $38.25 billion in stock. Later that day, Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America for 0.8595 shares of Bank of America common stock for each Merrill Lynch common share, or about US$50 billion or $29 per share. This price represented a 70.1% premium over the September 12 closing price or a 38% premium over Merrill’s book value of $21 a share, but a discount of 61% from its September 2007 price.

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Digital Usage Still Growing

The company also again reported that digital usage continued to grow among its Merrill and Private Bank clients.

Seventy-nine percent of Merrill households were digitally active across the enterprise, the company said. There was continued growth of advisor/client digital communications as 397,000 households exchanged about 1.5 million secure messages.

Also, 230,000 Merrill forms were signed digitally in Q4, representing 47% of all eligible transactions, the company said.

In Private Bank, a record 85% of clients were digitally active across the enterprise, the company said. Clients are increasingly leveraging the convenience and effectiveness of our digital capabilities, with Erica interactions growing 418%, Zelle transactions up 45% and digital wallet transactions up 60%, the company said.

What To Watch Out For

Career Conversations: Financial Solutions Advisor at Bank of America (Finance)

As mentioned above, Merrill has historically preferred clients with higher net worth. Individuals with assets of less than $250,000 could be encouraged to enter into one of Merrills automated programs.

Such accounts often have lower fees , but may not be a good fit for those who are seeking the personal touch of their own investment advisor.

Its also important to note that your experience with Merrill Lynch will be largely dependent on the advisor you end up with. Merrill Lynch is one of the largest wealth management firms in the world, with thousands of advisors. Some have been in the business for decades and have a track record of success, while others may just be getting started. So, before opening an account with Merrill, make sure you have an advisor you are comfortable with.

Merrill Lynch has faced a number of disciplinary proceedings from regulators over the past 10 years. The most recent action was in 2014, when the firm entered into an Acceptance, Waiver and Consent agreement with FINRA regarding its supervisory system for purchasing mutual fund shares for clients. It paid a fine of $8 million.

In 2012, Merrill entered into an AWC with FINRA regarding its billing practices. Among the issues mentioned in the agreement were unwarranted fees on some client accounts. Merrill reimbursed all affected clients and paid a fine of $2.8 million.

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Bank Of America Financial Advisor Reviews

  • – New York City, NY Area
  • – Point Pleasant Beach, Optional
  • – Old Tappan, NJ
  • – San Luis Obispo, CA Area
  • – Arroyo Grande, CA
  • – Fort Myers Beach, Optional
  • – Port St. Lucie, FL Area
  • – Port St Lucie, FL
  • – Lake Havasu City, AZ Area
  • – Bullhead City, AZ
  • – Kill Devil Hills, NC Area
  • – Kitty Hawk, NC
  • – Hilton Head Island, SC Area
  • – Hardeeville, SC
  • – North Myrtle Beach, Optional
  • – Spartanburg, SC Area
  • – Salt Lake City, UT Area
  • – Salt Lake City, UT
  • United Arab Emirates – All Cities
  • – Dubai, United Arab Emirates Area
  • – Mar del Plata, Argentina Area
  • – Mar del Plata
  • – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Area
  • – Rio de Janeiro
  • – San Jose, Costa Rica Area
  • – San Jose, San Jose
  • – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Area
  • – Santo Domingo
  • – Cape Town, South Africa Area
  • – H .S .R Layout B .D .A Complex
  • – Gulbarga, India Area
  • – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Area
  • – Ho Chi Minh City

46736K72% 77%

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Fees Under Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Merrill Lynch charges a program fee for the Merrill Lynch Investment Advisory Program that consists of a Merrill Lynch Fee Rate and a Style Manager Expense Rate.

The maximum rates charged for the Merrill Lynch Fee Rate are 2.20% of AUM for accounts below $5 million and 2.00% of is 1.75%.

The second type of fee is the Style Manager Expense Rate. This fee applies if you chose a Style Manager Strategy, and your rate will depend on the particular strategy you pursue. Rates generally range from 0.00% to 0.65% of assets.

The program fee covers the cost of investment advice and guidance, as well as related brokerage services. However, the program fee does not cover all potentially applicable costs. Clients will also be responsible for additional expenses, including custodial costs and charges related to certain investment types.

These fees are applied monthly, with the amount due equal to one-twelfth the calculated annual fee, based on the market value of assets in your account. Merrill does not charge performance-based fees.

Founding And Early History

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The company was founded on January 6, 1914, when Charles E. Merrill opened Charles E. Merrill & Co. for business at 7 Wall Street in New York City. A few months later, Merrill’s friend, Edmund C. Lynch, joined him, and in 1915 the name was officially changed to Merrill, Lynch & Co. At that time, the firm’s name included a comma between Merrill and Lynch, which was dropped in 1938. In 1916, Winthrop H. Smith joined the firm.

In 1921, the company purchased Pathé Exchange, which later became RKO Pictures. In 1926, the firm acquired a controlling interest in Safeway Inc., transforming the small grocery store into the country’s third-largest grocery store chain by the early 1930s.

Despite its strong position in the market, E.A. Pierce was struggling financially in the 1930s and was thinly capitalized. Following the death of Edmund C. Lynch in 1938, Winthrop Smith began discussions with Charles E. Merrill, who owned a minority interest in E.A. Pierce about a possible merger of the two firms. On April 1, 1940, Merrill Lynch, merged with Edward A. Pierce‘s E. A. Pierce & Co. and Cassatt & Co., a Philadelphia-based brokerage firm in which both Merrill Lynch and E.A. Pierce held an interest. and was briefly known as Merrill Lynch, E. A. Pierce, and Cassatt. The company became the first on Wall Street to publish an annual fiscal report in 1941.

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How Bank Of America Stacks Up

Interest rates on Bank of Americas savings account and CDs cant compete with the best online banks, but the bank still offers plenty of value. Its also hard to overlook the monthly fees, but they are also relatively easy to waive by meeting monthly account requirements.

Bank of America is a good choice for consumers who like the convenience of top-notch digital banking tools while still having access to local banking services. Its also a viable option for college students who qualify for monthly fee waivers.

What You Need To Know

  • BofA’s wealth management unit ended Q4 with 18,846 advisors, down just a few from Q3.
  • About 1,000 trainees have entered its new advisor development program since it launched in June.
  • Digital usage remains strong among clients.

Bank of America profits rose 28% from last year to $7 billion, or $0.82 a share, on a 10% jump in revenue to $22.1 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, it said Wednesday.

The latest financial results benefited from revenues growing faster than expected, according to the company.

The banks global wealth and investment management division, which includes Merrill and BofA Private Bank, had a 16% year-over-year increase in revenue, growing to $5.4 billion. Its net income jumped 47% to $1.2 billion.

Total client balances were $3.8 trillion, up 15%, driven by higher market valuations and record client flows, the company said in its earnings news release.

Total client flows across the wealth unit reached a record $171 billion in 2021, more than a threefold increase from 2020, a senior Merrill executive told reporters on a phone briefing Wednesday morning.

We attribute this significant increase in flows to two things, he said. First, the success of our organic growth strategy through which were attracting new clients and deepening relationships with existing clients.

And, second, the growth strategy was in place during a period of tremendous wealth creation in the U.S., he said.

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Tax Planning Advisor Richmond Hill

Unfortunately, the growth of assets and the amount of income you expect to receive at retirement will be influenced by the overall estate and income taxes. Tax planning is an ever-changing process because of various reasons such as varying tax laws, tax rates, tax brackets, and credits. Your income at retirement time will have a direct impact on the taxes due to the government. The importance of adopting financial strategies that move your money from forever taxable to never taxable is critical to successful planning.

Canadians can shift their savings and investing contributions from always taxed accounts to never taxed accounts if they take the time to learn how. Terminal taxes due when you pass away are also a major factor that can rob massive amounts of your wealth from reaching the people or charitable causes you intend. Checking in with your financial advisor regularly is a critical step to making adjustments as tax rules change so you can maximize your overall retention of money. Not all financial advisors are experts in tax planning, but many work closely or partner with specific tax advisors and CPAs to help you understand your tax bracket and the best use of your cashflow for your current financial situation


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