Merrill Lynch is bringing in a wave of changes for its storied ‘thundering herd’ of financial advisors

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management President Andy Sieg.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has made a string of changes for advisors and trainees.
Efforts include Merrill’s ‘Project Thunder’ campaign and an overhaul of the firm’s training program.
Insider is tracking the latest Merrill Lynch news and updates here.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is ushering in changes for its giant force of financial advisors as it navigates exits, a fierce competitive environment, and a newly reorganized training program.

The updates are wide-ranging and are aimed at addressing concerns advisors have expressed to leaders.

Merrill, among the world’s largest wealth managers with some $3.1 trillion in client balances, has started revamping its training program that dates back to the 1940s. Since Merrill has stopped hiring experienced advisors from competitors in recent years, its program has become a crucial source of bringing up new talent.

The changes this spring came after months of uncertainty for participants in its training program, where cold-calling potential clients was paused after the business found instances of violating do-not-call lists.

In the fall, Merrill started rolling out to advisors weekly updates as part of a campaign meant to address feedback from advisors and stem exits in its ranks. Merrill’s competitors, like UBS, Morgan Stanley, and wealth management firms in the independent wealth industry, are poaching large Merrill teams at a rapid clip.

Insider is tracking its latest Merrill coverage here.

Updates for the advisor force

Merrill Lynch is lowering minimums for wealth clients to get in on alternative investments as Wall Street muscles into private equity for the masses (October 2021) Leaked recording: Merrill Lynch president Andy Sieg, acknowledging past frustrations, tells advisors big pay changes are done for now (September 2021) Merrill Lynch, grappling with talent exits, is highlighting a new mortgages team and software upgrades as ‘wins’ for advisors (September 2021) Merrill Lynch is rolling out a new app and adding trust and estate roles as it looks to keep financial advisors from jumping ship (September 2021) Leaked memo: Merrill Lynch unveils more changes as part of its ‘Project Thunder’ effort to keep advisors from jumping ship (September 2021)

Merrill’s next generation of advisors

Insiders explain why Merrill trainee advisors are growing frustrated over client referrals and WFH stances after the firm’s cold-calling ban (August 2021)
Merrill Lynch’s talent pipeline is showing early signs of getting back on track after months of uncertainty (July 2021) Merrill Lynch finally gives advisors in training answers as it bans trainees’ cold calling and shortens development program (May 2021)
Merrill Lynch’s advisor training program is on month 9 of a ban on reaching out to prospective clients. Insiders say morale is taking a big hit. (April 2021)
Merrill Lynch’s advisor force is shrinking and junior hiring has slowed. Now the firm is looking to make changes to its key training program. (April 2021)
Merrill Lynch’s pipeline for thousands of new advisors is ‘in limbo’ as the firm overhauls its training program and deals with ongoing cold-call violations (January 2021)

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