Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
When we talk about wealth management that can bring you peace of mind, there are many companies that attempt to deliver on that promise.
In this article, as a fiduciary wealth management firm at Pillar Wealth Management, we will provide some insights about Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. For serious investors with $5+ million in liquid investable assets, we suggest you get this free book about wealth management, estate, tax and financial planning.
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At Merrill, according to the company website (ml.com), regarding wealth management, “All our advisors are committed to putting your needs and priorities first.”
Merrill Lynch financial advisors earn money from commissions on trades or from fees charged to clients for financial services, such as account maintenance fees and account transfer fees.
The fee structure at Merrill can be complex, depending on the types of investments in which the client is interested. Each client can negotiate commissions and should be concerned about hidden fees.
According to the Merrill website, customers pay a maximum rate of 1.75% (effective May 1, 2022), whether through an advisor or a brokerage account. Advisors will also charge fees for their services.
You can view your statements online, and download and print them from your computer. Visit mymerrill.com to manage your options, including receiving a paper statement.
If your account is locked, you will receive an email with instructions for unlocking the account, including a link to reset your account. Even without the email, the lock will expire in one hour.
To withdraw from your 401k, visit www.benefits.ml.com, or use the Benefits Online app for iOS and Android. There will be penalties and tax implications if you withdraw funds from your 401k account before you reach 59 ½ years of age.
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) provides up to $500,000 of account protection per client, inclusive of up to $250,000 for cash. The assets in your Merrill Cash Management Account are protected by the SIPC.
Typically, you can expect to receive a check within two to four weeks. However, an electronic transfer of funds will only take one to three business days to reach your bank account.
Merrill Lynch is the investment arm of Bank of America. Merrill Lynch includes an online investment platform called Merrill Edge, established in 2010 to include Bank of America online investments.
In specific, we will get insight into whether Merrill Lynch wealth Management is a fiduciary or not, its minimum investment, Bank of America (BOA) prosperity management, and the condition of Merrill Lynch wealth management today. Let’s get started.
Six Important Information You Should Know About Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
- Is Merrill Lynch a Fiduciary?
- What Types of Clients Does Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Accept?
- Minimum Investment for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor
- Investment Costs for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Other Firms
- Merrill Lynch Accounts for High-Net-Worth Individuals
- Are Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Firms going out of Business?
Merrill Lynch or Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith is the financial management and investing arm of the Bank of America Corporation. The company also engages in prime brokerage as well as broker-dealer activities. Headquarter or chief investment office located in New York City, and another location in Little Rock, Merrill Lynch has a global footprint. The Merrill Lynch wealth management practice is quite large.
It employs some 14,000 financial advisors and manages $2.3 trillion in assets. If you happen to have $10 million or more in investible liquid assets and are considering a financial management firm, then we highly recommend you to read this guide on choosing the best wealth management advisor.
Merrill Lynch is categorized as Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc too, so it can offer a host of services under prosperity management strategies such as investment management, insurance, and annuity products, risk management, retirement planning, investment portfolio, impact investing, investment advisory, investment strategy, philanthropy, and grantmaking, Insurance and annuity products.
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Merrill Lynch is a Wall Street firm with offices in various regions of the US. Financial times bring a good review and ranking as the proof of the good performance from this company. Being part of the American Private bank also allows Merrill Lynch Wealth Management to give clients access to their financial advisor and their range of banking services or activities.
A regional or niche firm has a different approach. A firm like Pillar Wealth Management focuses exclusively on financial management for clients with $5 million to $500 million in liquid investible assets.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed and provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation.
It is not very difficult to find well-known firms like Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. All you have to do is Google them and visit their website. There is information about the services they offer, their chief investment office in the United States, email, phone number, and the kind of customer account that they work with.
As the financial management company, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated also powered with their broker-dealer, registered investment adviser in the United States. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America private and able to access the investment banking product given by Bank of America Corporation such as Newsroom share for instance.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management does not require a minimum investment for its financial advisory services, but when you choose the full management strategy plans, you will be charged about $5,000, while for the customized plan, you will have to pay up to $20,000.
Now, we will answer questions and give investment advice like “What types of clients does Merrill Lynch Wealth Management accept?” We will explore the services offered to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management accounts for high-net-worth individuals. Another important point of discussion will be the fees charged by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Lastly, we will offer some tips for finding a top financial advisor.
1. Is Merrill Lynch a Fiduciary?
A fiduciary firm employs investment advisors that are legally required to always act in the best interests of the client. This means the advisors offering the right investment advisory, the right financial advice, and pointing out any potential conflict-of-interest situation whenever it comes up.
2. What Types of Clients Does Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Accept?
Every financial management firm has a certain threshold in terms of account size. It works only with those individuals/families that have a certain amount of liquid investible assets. This is the case with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management or any other firm because financial management caters to affluent clients. Pillar Wealth Management caters to clients with $5 million to $500 million in investible liquid assets.
You might ask what types of clients does Merrill Lynch Wealth Management accept. Historically, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has catered to those individuals who have $1 million or more in investible liquid assets.
However, individual Merrill Lynch Wealth Management advisors may work with a minimum account size of at least $10 million. Of course, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has an investment advisory program, and something known as Merrill Edge, an automated online program.
For these options, anyone with as little as $5,000 can get started. If you are interested, you can get to them in New York City and Little Rock. But, if we talk about high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, then $10 million seems to be the threshold.
Before you make any decisions, we encourage you to download this guide on choosing the best financial management advisor for individuals and families with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets.
Other than the account size, there is no significant metric to screen clients as far as most financial management firms are concerned.
3. Minimum Investment for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor
Fees under Merrill Lynch Wealth Management vary according to the account size. In addition to these fees, there is also what this company calls a Style Manager fee. This depends on whether you choose a particular style of manager strategy and the financial advisors.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management does not apply a minimum investment upon its services from their financial advisors, but when you choose the full management strategy plans, you will be charged about $5,000, while for the customized plan, you have to pay their service as $20,000. It is not a big deal especially if you are living in New York.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we follow a fee-only model. Our fees are a fixed percentage of the liquid investible asset that you ask us to manage. We like to keep things simple. We also believe that following a fee-only model best serves our customers because our financial incentives are aligned with the quality of advice that we provide from our advisors to our customer’s life priorities. There is no motivation to “push” or “market” a product to the client in the hope of earning a commission. Get in touch with Hutch Ashoo to know more about the fee-only structure.
4. Investment Costs for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Other Firms
While it is great for investment managers to earn a high rate of return on the investment and its strategy to make an available certain investment, some attention also needs to be given to the investment costs incurred in the process of earning those returns. Many wealth managers are so involved with the returns part, that they lose track of expenses like capital gains taxes, fund expense ratios, and other costs/fees. We have talked in-depth about investment costs in this guide on improving portfolio performance for investors with $5 million to $500 million in investible liquid assets.
Imagine that a prosperity manager frequently trades in an attempt to beat the index. The strategy works out great if the manager can beat the index by a significant margin. But you should know that in the long term, it is statistically observed that very few (rare geniuses like Warren Buffet) fund managers have been successful in “beating the market.”
Most investment managers see their average annual returns hover close to the index average returns or sometimes even below the index returns. Many advisors have tried to beat the market and failed at it through active investing. And by the way, significant costs get incurred in the process of active trading in the United States.
Now, contrast that approach with fund advisors and managers investing in a passive index fund that is low cost but a relatively low return as well.
Bank of America (BoA)
Merrill Lynch or Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated provide financial programs for your security. This company is powered by the registered broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, and wholly-owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. It makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed, or provided by companies that partner with Bank of America Corporation.
The product and services provided by Bank of America, N.A, affiliated banks, and an owned subsidiary of corporation BofA corp MLPF. Bank of America Corporation is banking that provides services:
- Insurance and annuity products
- Credit cards
- Home equity
Are not FDIC insured, are not Bank Guaranteed, may lose value, are not deposits, are not insured by any government agency, are not a condition to any banking service or activity, the potential of losing money.
5. Merrill Lynch Accounts for High-Net-Worth Individuals
Most people think that the more money one has, the easier their life is. However, what they don’t realize is that the more money one has, the more responsibility there is to protect and grow that wealth. Achieving financial goals requires careful thinking and planning, and with a portfolio worth a few million dollars, the stakes are that much higher.
Merrill Lynch accounts for high-net-worth individuals and focuses on goal identification. It holds a review meeting with the client once every year. This approach works well for those who do not have a lot of time for long meetings and are comfortable with wealth advisors handling all the decisions.
For those ultra-high net worth individuals who feel more comfortable knowing that they can simply email or pick up the phone and speak directly to their wealth management advisor whenever they need to, a boutique firm can be a great fit. For example, at Pillar Wealth Management, we know every one of our clients by the first name.
Any financial management firm works with clients having a certain level of wealth, including Merrill Lynch, which, historically, has catered to those individuals who have $1 million or more in investible liquid assets. However, individual Merrill advisors may work with a minimum account size of at least $10 million. Of course, Merrill Lynch has an investment advisory program, and something called Merrill Edge, which is an automated online program. Anyone with as little as $5,000 can get started.
6. Are Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Firms going out of Business?
Bank of America has stated that Merrill Lynch Management Advisor is going nowhere, they are just using the innovative approach by changing its name to BofA securities inc. and have several strategies in the new market.
Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor
As part of one of the largest investment firms (owned by Bank of America), a Merrill Lynch financial advisor will have a broad array of resources to utilize to advise their clients. An advisor at Merrill Lynch will have a duty to put the client’s interests above their own and do their utmost to maximize returns on the client’s investments. They will also provide other services that the client may be interested in, such as retirement or estate planning.
For most Merrill Lynch account holders, there is no minimum amount required to make investments. However, to benefit from a more personalized service, at least $250,000 is required.
Because there are so many advisors that work at Merrill Lynch, it is best to talk to an advisor to determine their investment philosophy. The client should ask the advisor about their approach, whether active or passive. It’s good to know about the asset allocation and diversification that the advisor would recommend.
The more information the client can provide about their financial situation and their financial goals and aspirations, the better the advisor will be able to develop the investment strategy to meet those goals.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management — What to watch out for
Qualifying to be a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management client requires a minimum of $250,000 in assets available for investment. The minimum for a managed account is $100,000. With less than that minimum, customers are encouraged to utilize Merrill’s online investment toolbox, which includes Merrill Edge.
Merrill offers investment advice and financial planning services, with a national network of advisors. Its advisors have been highly ranked by Forbes, including a number one ranking. However, as beginners, some advisors may not be a good fit for someone who wants a lot of advice.
Like any other investment firm, Merrill is regulated by FINRA. It has been subject to investigations by regulators in recent years, regarding billing practices, unwarranted fees, and client record-keeping.
Merrill Lynch or Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith is the financial management and investing arm of the Bank of America Corporation. The company also engages in prime brokerage as well as broker-dealer activities. In its performance compared to Pillar Wealth Management, we are better because we follow a fee-only model. Our fees are a fixed percentage of the liquid investible asset that you ask us to manage. We like to keep things simple.
We also believe that following a fee-only model best serves our customers because our financial incentives are aligned with the quality of advice that we provide from our advisors to our customer’s life priorities. There is no motivation to “push” or “market” a product to the client in the hope of earning a commission. Get in touch with Hutch Ashoo to know more about the fee-only structure.
It will give you a reasonably good idea of the processes and working styles of top financial management firms. Wealth management is a continuous ongoing process in its wealth management strategies. We believe that a good wealth management advisor will not simply create a wealth plan and then put it away in a drawer for months. Start a conversation with Pillar Wealth Management to know more.
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