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If you have decided to go work for Merrill Lynch, under the ownership of Bank of America, in the past 3-5 years – make no mistake, you are a banker. Make no mistake.

Read this quote from Andy Seig a bit ago and tell us if you disagree:

“We’re uniquely positioned to identify future advisor talent while they’re still, in many cases, working in other lines of business, particularly within our consumer bank, in our Edge business, where they’re already licensed to do securities business and are advising clients and then have an aspiration, over time, to become advisors in the Private Bank or at Merrill.” Sieg made these comments on June 14 during an online Morgan Stanley Financials, Payments & Commercial Real Estate Conference.

Notice that the ‘Merrill’ inclusion is at the end of a long line of banking positions. A new Merrill trainee now has to navigate a maze of banking roles to ever find their way to the actual desk of a Merrill advisor as most of you reading this understand.

But wait, there’s more…

When presented with new agreements associated with new roles and career paths, trainees were given an ultimatum: sign it or your services are no longer needed and you’re fired (and here’s a little severance so you’re not actually fired). And then Merrill was ecstatic that 96% of those in the program signed it.

Take a minute to re-read that last sentence because it’s a big deal. BofA signaled their ability to lock in trainees as bankers and remove ALL OF THEM from any participation in the broker protocol.

If you think that Merrill remains in the broker protocol you’re fooling yourself. It’s the same as believing that Merrill still has nearly 20k advisors at the firm. Neither of those things are true. Fully half of Merrill’s banker brokers are now under non-solicit agreements and ineligible for inclusion in the broker protocol.

The entirety of this article can be summed up this way – BofA/Merrill continues to look more and more like J. P. Morgan and less and less like Morgan Stanley

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