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The march away from Bank of America Merrill Lynch continues unabated. Large teams seem to be the greater portion of transitions walking away from what used to be the ‘thundering herd’ on Wall Street and across the United States. An interesting quote surfaced from late in 2019 that seems to be ringing true already in 2020.

Per media reports:

“A mother-son advisor team at Merrill Lynch’s Buckhead office in Atlanta left before the Labor Day weekend to join RBC Wealth Management-U.S. Mary Elizabeth Dale, a 38-year industry veteran who had been with Merrill Lynch for more than a decade, made the move Thursday with her son Jacob, another advisor Chase Rosenberg and two associates.”

“She was a senior vice president at Merrill, according to her former website. They managed $453 million in client assets, according to an RBC spokeswoman. Their Merrill-to-RBC route in Atlanta traces the same path made by the $210-million-asset team of Christopher Sanders and Daniel Crews in June.”

“We were saddened by the changes that Bank of America has made to Merrill Lynch over the past decade,” said Dale, who began his brokerage career in 2010 at Merrill. “I did not leave Merrill Lynch; I left Bank of America.”

You could turn those words into a novel. Dozens and dozens of real world stories about advisors who were fiercely loyal to the Merrill Lynch brand, but were pushed away like a jilted spouse who simply couldn’t take it anymore. Seriously, that is exactly what that quote sounds like. A spouse forced to leave his partner, all the while mourning the loss of the time and connection with their kids. Sad.

Meanwhile, another $450M in client assets walk out the door and Merrill continues to be the biggest recruiting loser on the street this year. Better than $20B has walked out the door in 2019, better than 50% more than Morgan Stanley and Well Fargo. That directly speaks to the cultural breakdown at the firm.

And we expect the exodus to continue.

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