If size matters to prospective recruits, Merrill Lynch is betting that $1.5 trillion in AUM is evidence that its approach is the "right" one.
Merrill's new ad campaign is aimed at both investors and advisors. The advisor-facing side highlights the firm's size as the proof of its business model: "$1.5 trillion in client balances is more than a vote of confidence."
On that side, the new tag line has already rolled out as part of Merrill's recruiting materials and across its website.
Interestingly, the goal here seems to be capturing talent from non-advisory industries and feeding them into the wirehouse. "Career-changers" are expressly courted here, without much mention of advisors who are already in the field but are affiliated with other firms.
In terms of the investor-facing side of the campaign, it remains to be seen whether the $1.5 trillion in AUM will turn many heads. Size may not be everything -- in fact, competing advisors who explicitly promote themselves as being small or community-focused may be able to compete on their own terms here by providing "boutique" service.
Either way, the new ads are rolling out in publications like the New Yorker this week. Hard to argue with the idea that the "right" advisor is the way that any investor should go. The question is how any advisor -- from Merrill or elsewhere -- proves that he or she really is the right one.