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Brokers of all sizes, Mama Merrill wants you again

|Includes: Bank of America Corporation (BAC)

I’ve covered the growing competition for large producers.  Everyone has been gunning for these guys.  Franchise players, those brokers with $500 million to $1 Billion in books of business, have been wined and dined and the chips have been falling for the past 18 months as players choose sides.  As the business changes, brokers have been realigning themselves, getting into advisory business or just flat out looking for jobs.

Now, Investment News reports that Merrill Lynch is getting down-right serious about luring brokers of all strips and colors to fly their flags under the Merrill Lynch bull, or Bank America Flag or whatever it is now.

“We want brokers, brokers, brokers,” said one recruiter, who declined to speak for attribution, when summing up Merrill Lynch’s recruiting head, Don Geisler’s call.

According to the article, top producers, meaning brokers who generate over $800,000 in yearly fees will see an upfront bonus of 140% of the broker’s previous year’s fees and commissions.   Bonuses and remuneration rise from there as long as a broker can bring over 65% of his book over to Merrill to the point where in year 5, the broker has 1.5x of the assets he had at his previous firm.  Pretty bullish but the payout is sweet.

Merrill is also targeting the soft belly of the broker population, the top 20-60% in production.

Lastly, “The firm is also looking to hire potential rising stars, the recruiters said. That would include a broker with a couple of years’ experience who annually generates $200,000 or more in fees and commissions.”

Merrill at the end of June had about $1.2 trillion of client assets and 13,000 legacy financial advisers (excluding about 2,000 BofA brokers who had adopted the Merrill brand), down from almost 16,100 six months earlier.

A Merrill Lynch spokeswoman, Selena Morris, said the firm wouldn’t comment on a conference call. She added: “As always, recruiting and retaining quality advisors is a top priority for Merrill Lynch wealth management.”