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Is Merrill Lynch taking its more RIA-like training program another step forward with Racquel Oden's promotion?

The new head of training breaks stereotypes and may break new ground for the industry -- or not

Author Lisa Shidler
March 10, 2014 at 1:31 AM
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Racquel Oden is tasked with RIA-ifying the training program and infusing new blood into the starchy Merrill advisor force.

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Micheal Groussman

Micheal Groussman

March 11, 2014 — 10:52 PM

“She will help new advisors realize the value of integrating Merrill’s services with those offered at parent company Bank of America for the benefit of the client.”

Um, last I checked, this was only good for one interested party — B of A!!!! Any decent advisor still left there figured this out a long time ago and is reluctant to drink the Kool-Aid. They know the more tentacles the bank wraps around the unsuspecting customer, the less inclined they are to leave and the harder it is for the advisor to leave. Which is unfortunate because many existing customers of the bank undoubtedly grind their teeth every time a CA tries to hock the latest credit card or loan product. The Thundering Herd was castrated in the fall of 2008 and, unfortunately, is a dying breed.



June 20, 2014 — 10:33 PM

The training program at BofA Merrill Lynch remains consistent with its past. No matter how the program is revamped, it is still designed as an asset-gathering tool for the firm.

Here is the process:

1. Join the firm
2. Market the services of Merrill Lynch
3. Wash out unless the firm makes you a poster child for their program, or you actually make it through the program on your own
4. If a wash-out, have other advisors pounce on the assets and clients you have gathered, otherwise (highly unlikely) go forward

The RIA model that Merrill Lynch supposedly touts is simply the same pig with different lipstick. If anything, it will speed up the process of firing trainees because they will be even less likely to make the aggressive production hurdles that Merrill sets in place. On the other hand, if the Merrill Clear initiative works and more advisors meet the production hurdles, it will be due to increased sales of insurance and variable annuity products, and sticky banking products that marry the advisor to the firm.

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