Thousands of Merrill Lynch financial advisors can expect compensation to go relatively unchanged in 2015.
The firm released details of its compensation plan to its advisors on Wednesday, telling advisors that there would be no changes to its core grid payouts next year.
"Our compensation plan directly supports the execution of our strategy and provides incentives for our advisors to grow, increase client satisfaction and strengthen relationships," a Merrill Lynch spokeswoman said in an email.
Merrill is making some small tweaks to existing policies, augmenting a growth reward and amending its small household policy.
Merrill advisors could boost their pay with enhancements made to the firm's Strategic Growth Award. Merrill doubled the base payout for net new strategic flows, which includes fee-based asset and lending, and tripled payouts for new net households.
If the goals are met, the payouts could be substantial: an advisor who brings in two or more net new households totaling less than $10 million will earn a bonus worth 15 basis points. Between $10 million and $50 million, the bonus doubles to 30 basis points.
Three years ago, Merrill changed its small household policy, increasing its minimum to $250,000, but grandfathering in existing client relationships. For 2015, the firm is eliminating the payout on grandfathered relationships depending on the size of an advisor's book.
Merrill advisors can still have 20% of their book consist of households below $250,000 and receive a 20% payout on those relationships. Advisors who pass the 20% threshold will not earn a payout.
The firm notes that client relationships below $250,000 can be serviced by the Merrill Edge Advisory Center.
For 2015, Merrill is requiring one cross line business connection, such as to the investment bank or consumer bank, by an advisor team or solo practitioner. Satisfactory fulfillment of the requirement is based on the introduction, not its outcome. Merrill sees this as an essential factor in serving clients needs and generating business across the firm.
"Our plan offers incentives for all of our advisors to ensure all clients have access to the full range of available solutions provided by Bank of America, particularly with the Investment Bank, Business Bank and Commercial Bank," the spokeswoman said.
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