Even advisors with no interest in the wirehouse recruiting wars should pay attention to the success -- or failure -- of Merrill Lynch to shift its talent mix toward the high and low end of the market simultaneously.
Merrill recently captured Bruce Lee and Jim Hoesley in Chicago from Credit Suisse's private banking unit.
They managed $1.2 billion there and are going to be involved helping Merrill court more high-net-worth clients around the country.
Merrill also picked up a three-advisor team from Wells Fargo in Savannah, Georgia with $257 million in AUM.
Both teams are far above the average for Merrill, where advisors normally run about $123 million apiece for their clients and generate $854,000 a year in commissions and fees.
And Merrill, in turn, is already big by wirehouse standards.
However, Bank of America is also aggressively hiring for the mass-market Merrill Edge program, rolling out another 27 "financial solutions advisors" throughout the southeast in the last few weeks.
With growth on the top and bottom end, the firm's strategy seems to be forcing everyone else into the middle of the market -- whether that is defined as clients between $1 million and $5 million to invest, or simple economies of scale.