Yes, its that bad. Advisors across the land are fed up with the bureaucracy, the overbearing compliance, and becoming ‘just another number’ at Bank of America. Advisors at ML seem to have an abundance of choice from big banks to boutiques, to Independence.
Roger Gershman, who runs a boutique consulting firm and who specializes in Merrill Lynch teams says, “the premium valuations of ML teams we are seeing are literally 20-30% more than the average.” Gershman referenced a few recent team moves as example.
The Maxwell Group, a $9M/$2B+ The Woodlands, Texas-based team left Merrill Lynch (we still call it ML cause it should be) and landed at The Rockefeller Family Office Group
Rockefeller Global Family Office Group. Managing Director Kyle Maxwell serves as a PM focused on Alts, building, and implementing custom equity and commodity derivative strategies. VP Shawna Alexander joined too who was once a pro golfer and now holds a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) designation and focuses on pre-divorce wealth management planning.
The ARA Group, a 9-person, $6.5M+ SF based team left Merrill Lynch for www.First RepublicBank.com. SVP Ted Rice is a founder of the ARA Group. At ML since 2007, Ted holds the (CIMA®) designation. FVP Nasser Abdulkariem joined Merrill in 2007 and specializes in corporate benefit programs. SVP Gregory Steven Argyres joined Merrill in 2007 and holds a CFP® and CRPC®. SVP Timothy Argyres joined Merrill in 2007 after time spent and holds a CFP® and CRPC®.
But it is the mass exodus to independence seems to be a major theme amongst Merrill Lynch advisors. Says one anonymous advisor, “The compliance here has become so overwhelming that I literally spend 50% of my time filling out these stupid approval forms only to be rejected that they weren’t filled out correctly!” The consultant Gershman says BOA/Merrill has become a bad combination of a law firm and a compliance firm which is essentially run by FINRA. “On the RIA side the SEC dictates rules, treats advisors as adults, and compliance is a tiny fraction of anything these advisors are used to,” says Gershman.
As example, Heinrichs, Behling & Associates group, a 4-person WI based, pro-athlete focused team left Merrill Lynch for Sanctuary Wealth. Sanctuary is run by former Snr. Execs at ML who support the transition of traditional advisors into a turnkey RIA firm. The group was led by two long time ML advisors, Terry Heinrichs with 26 years at the firm and Ryan Behling with 16 years at the firm.
When asked about the move, the team stated they are free from compliance, felt they needed a better solution of service and investment options instead of playing to the lowest common denominator at ML.
Curious about all the moves and what might be right for your team? For over fifty years, The Gershman Group has served financial advisors considering and making business moves., and serving clients throughout the States, the team works with the upmost confidentiality to assess your platform and your needs, and can assist you in making moves swiftly. Free consultations are offered, so if interested and to learn more, contact The Gershman Group at (628) 500-7770 or at https://www.thegershmangroup.com.