More mixed signals at Merrill Lynch. Parent company Bank of America's latest earnings reveal that the "thundering herd" is technically growing even though average revenue per rep shrank.
Bank of America's global wealth and investment management unit had 16,722 financial advisors -- which is to say, Merrill Lynch and company -- on its books last quarter.
That represents net hiring of 475 advisors, almost entirely at the new "Merrill Edge" mass-market unit.
But BofA excluded Merrill Edge from its advisor production numbers, so we can't tell yet just how successful those hires are for the company.
What we know is that in the third quarter, the true Merrill "Lynch" advisors generated only 95% of the revenue they brought in three months previously, or an annualized $854,000 apiece.
Granted, there are seasonal factors -- last year there was a much smaller third-quarter dip -- but in an environment where Merrill is seen as BofA's salvation, it looks a little ominous.