Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is Merrill Schizophrenic?

Less than a year ago Merrill Lynch was chasing its brokers out the door with a transition bonus that was so low it was insulting for anyone producing less than a million dollars a year. Readers will recall that many Merrill Lynch brokers were faced with the choice of remaining at Merrill and taking something less than one times trailing 12 to stay, or leaving Merrill and taking something more than two times trailing 12 to leave.  I discussed the problems with the retention in the post Merrill's Retention Bonuses Come In Low.

It was not a difficult choice for many brokers, and they left. Undoubtedly, Merrill structured the retention bonus to entice the small producers to leave, as it seems that firms have decided that anyone producing less than $750,000 is not worth the trouble keeping.

But that was October, 2008. This is August 2009 and now Merrill has decided it wants small producers. While it may be caused by a sanity introduced by Sallie Krawcheck, it sure has a psychotic look to it. A complete about face in less than a year.

So, Merrill is rolling out the welcome mat for brokers of all production levels, according to InvestmentNews.com in its article, The New Merrill Mantra: We Want Broker, Brokers, Brokers.

Time to change firms and join Mother Merrill? We will analyze the package in another post but for anyone considering moving. Please have an attorney negotiate and review the compensation package. Those agreement are negotiable, and you can take some steps to protect yourself should your schizophrenic employer decide that it no longer wants to employ you down the road.

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