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Earlier in the week, we posted the criticisms leveled at Bank of America by the former head of their Merrill Lynch brokerage unit, Lyle LaMothe. LaMothe said he grew weary of the emphasis on the “goals of the bank rather than specific needs of Merrill’s brokers and clients” and that many brokers were dissatisfied.
Following that post, we received a series of emails from a source close to the company backing up LaMothe’s claims that Merrill Lynch brokers are increasingly unhappy at Bank of America.
The source said that “many brokers are saying they are not happy with management and will talk to other firms in the coming year.”
Where will they go?
Our source says that “some are going to where they can get the biggest up front bonus, some are looking at independents, and some are even looking at Wells [Fargo], which seems to offer leads to them through the branch channel.”
The first two paths are relative no brainers—making a move to a competitor for up front cash (if you can get it) or to an independent shop more in tune with your values are logical moves for unhappy Merrill brokers.
But the third option, moving to Wells Fargo, is interesting. Wells Fargo has never been considered a big player in the brokerage business, so the fact that Merrill Lynch brokers would look to move there is surprising.
And apparently, it’s surprising to our source too. We couldn’t help but notice (and enjoy) the casual condescension in the comment: “some are even looking at Wells [Fargo]”. Ouch.
Regardless of if they can find and eventually leave to take positions at other firms, it seems increasingly clear that Bank of America hasn’t done a great job making Merrill Lynch brokers feel at home.
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