Bank of America's wealth management unit reported increases in client assets and advisor headcounts, at the same time there was a net income loss in the first quarter. Attrition levels remained at record lows, the firm says.
Client assets increased to $2.5 trillion, up roughly 5% from a year-ago, according to the bank's latest quarterly earnings report released this week. The bank's wealth management unit, which includes Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust, added 1,027 financial advisors in the last quarter, including 394 in consumer banking.
The bank also posted a net income loss of $651 million, a decline of nearly 12% from the first quarter of 2014, according to the bank's first quarterly earnings report for 2015. Revenues declined to $4.5 billion, a decrease of nearly 2%. Merrill Lynch accounted for $3.7 billion while U.S. Trust had roughly $800 million for the quarter, a spokesman says.
A 3% increase in non-interest expenses, now at $3.5 billion, has been accredited to an increase in revenue-related incentive compensation as well as investments in the firm's customer service professionals, according to the report.
There was a $1.3 billion decrease in total revenue across all units, according to the report. A spokesman clarified that $1 billion of this is due to a $757 million reduction in equity investment income. "Almost all of the decreases on the revenue line were attributed to the net interest income effect," the spokesman says.
Despite the declines, there was a 10% increase in asset management fees and higher net interest income from loan growth, offset by allocation of the firm's market-rate adjustments to net interest income, according to the report.