Huge Exodus At Merrill Lynch May Bode Ill for BofA Hot

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Merrill Lynch advisors with significant client assets have been on a departing track to other firms, especially since September 2011. The other big three—Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Wells Fargo—have also lost advisors with significant assets but have largely managed to replace them with new hires. Not so for Merrill. Advisors seem to be taking advantage of a final guaranteed stock price package based on 2002 stock prices and are also rebelling against the bank’s strong encouragement to cross-sell services and products. They also may be feeling the capital crunch Bank of America is experiencing as a result of the 2008 crisis.
 
Most of the advisors seem to be migrating to other firms with UBS garnering the bulk of advisors with significant client relationships. The exodus seems to be occurring regardless of location. There is no mention of how many of these advisors—or advisory teams—may be leaving to start their own firms. Regardless, parent company Bank of America expressed concern in a recent filing that advisor departures could harm its bottom line.

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