Some advisors at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's U.S. Trust unit this week received an ultimatum from on high, demanding they sign a new agreement that would effectively sideline them for up to eight months if and when they decide to leave the firm or else risk losing not only their 2010 bonuses but their jobs, too.

According to sources quoted in a Bloomberg report, agreeing to the "garden leave" stipulation -- which bumps the current two-week notice policy to 60 days and adds an additional six months to the non-solicit ban -- would result in reduced pay and the new caveat that advisors who opt to resign can be reassigned to "whatever duties" the firm decides during the initial two months of leave.

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