Back to List

What We’re Reading This Week

Merrill Lynch

Jeff regularly describes Bank of America and its counterpart Merrill Lynch as the “Evil Empire” and understandably so. Sure, it’s not a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” but who is anymore?

Regardless, Merrill represents, to me, an older, more traditional side to the industry. Granted, since the merger with Bank of America, it has been crudely ushered into the 21st century. Not least of all, is the recent move to bring 300 “financial solutions advisors” to its traditional wealth-management offices.

Most financial management firms work predominantly with baby boomers for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks, “because that’s where the money is.” However, many firms are facing a problem: they must adapt their offerings to work with younger clientele, or risk losing the relationship later on (and sometimes now). That’s the obvious problem. The more nuanced issue is that a lot of people simply expect more from their money manager.

But what is a “financial solutions advisor”? These are (typically) younger employees that assist Merrill clients with opening web-based accounts that don’t include paying a fee to a financial advisor. This sort of makes sense if you are a very large, commercially successful bank where financial performance is measured in the aggregate. It’s sort of a bummer if you are a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch who measures financial performance in a very specific, personal way.

The future of personal finance has a lot more to do with aligning client interests and advisor incentives than pairing two service providers with fundamentally opposing business structures.


SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, Investment Company Act Release No. 33440; 812-14405

Ten Behavioural Advantages Amateur Investors Hold Over Professionals

College Grads Sell Stakes in Themselves to Wall Street

Congress Is About to Ban the Government from Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax.

How Banksy Authenticates His Work

McKinsey Broke the Rules, Now It Wants to Rewrite Them

Tesla Just Made It Harder to Buy Its Cheapest $35,000 Electric Car

Cause for Worry: Stock and Bond Prices Walk Hand in Hand

Gainplan LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. This blog is solely for informational purposes and not a solicitation to invest. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Gainplan LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Gainplan LLC unless a client service agreement is in place. Please contact a financial advisory professional before making any investment.

Gainplan LLC provides links for your convenience to websites produced by other providers or industry related material. Accessing websites through links directs you away from our website. Gainplan LLC is not responsible for errors or omissions in the material on third party websites, and does not necessarily approve of or endorse the information provided. Users who gain access to third party websites may be subject to the copyright and other restrictions on use imposed by those providers and assume responsibility and risk from use of those websites.

Categories: Industry Ideas, News, The Market

Subscribe to Our Blog