Broker Recruiting Not a ‘Good Formula’ for Clients, Shareholders or Firm: Merrill’s Sieg

June 14, 2021
By Mason Braswell and Miriam Rozen

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management President Andy Sieg reaffirmed on Monday the firm’s intention to stay out of the veteran broker recruiting game, noting he and other senior executives “don’t think it is a good formula for clients, shareholders or the firm overall.” “One of our principles is that cultures can only be built. They can’t be bought,” Sieg said in a  virtual presentation at the Morgan Stanley U.S. Financials Conference. “We’re going to stay focused here on building on this tremendously strong Bank of America and Merrill Lynch culture as we put the advisor force of the future in place.”

Merrill’s decision to stay on the sidelines comes as its competitors are engaged in a “very active recruiting environment right now,” Sieg said. 

The increasing competition has come at Merrill’s expense in some cases as the firm continues to see a steady stream of exits of veteran producers with a number of high profile departures over the past year-and-a-half as some have voiced frustration with the firm’s growth push and the bank’s increasing influence. Three teams with a combined $12 million in revenue left for a competitor on Friday alone. 

Merrill also saw several departures this year among its ranks of around 105 market executives, including four who left in a week’s span around the Memorial Day holiday. The exits followed a year in which the bonus pool for market managers was cut by around 30%

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