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A Merrill Feeding Frenzy

Sep 23, 2008

It’s going to become a talent feeding frenzy on Wall Street, according to Darin Manis, CEO of RJ & Makay, a financial recruiting firm.

Once the dust settles, he says, Merrill Lynch brokers will be waiting to hear what their retention packages will be.

“Even if the pending announcement of the retention package is competitive there will still be attrition. Historically there is an average pattern of 8%-15% attrition. With Merrill’s size that could mean over 2,000 brokers ending up with a Merrill competitor,” says Manis.

With the average Merrill financial adviser having about 100 million in assets, this is a unique opportunity for financial recruiters.

“For top Merrill brokers their market value is exceeding 200% deals. Some can get more than that depending on a host of factors. Bottom line is that the transition package a primary competitor is willing to pay is always higher than the acquiring firm’s retention package,” he says.

Although Merrill Lynch brokers will ultimately decide as individuals whether Bank of America is the right fit, Manis says he expects years of combining cultures, systems, and department turf wars.

“There will be changes After the transition is fully implemented it won’t just be business as usual for Merrill with a new owner. It never is,” he adds.

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