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Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

If you’re looking for wealth management solutions that offer tranquility and peace of mind, numerous firms claim to meet this expectation.

As stewards of wealth at Pillar Wealth Management, we aim to shed light on Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in this piece. For affluent individuals possessing over $5 million in liquid assets, we recommend this free book, our complimentary guide on wealth management, including estate and tax planning.

The insights you’ll discover from our published book will help you integrate a variety of wealth management tools with financial planning, providing guidance for your future security alongside complex financial strategies, so your human and financial capital will both flourish.

Clients frequently share with us how the knowledge gained from this book helped provide them tremendous clarity, shattering industry-pitched ideologies, while offering insight and direction in making such important financial decisions.

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We’ll delve into the role of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as a fiduciary, the initial investment necessary to engage their services, the variety of wealth management solutions provided by Bank of America, and an overview of the present offerings from Merrill Lynch’s wealth management. Let’s dive in.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Client Types and Account Minimums

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Client Types and Account Minimums

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has no minimum account size for the accounts in its advisory programs. Typical high-net-worth clients pay fees for the services of a Merrill Lynch advisor. The fees vary depending on the advisor and the services offered. Some programs require $1 million or more to participate.

Merrill Edge provides a top-notch online investing platform if you’re interested in handling your investments independently.  

Investment Philosophy

Merrill Lynch allows account holders to invest without a mandatory minimum balance. Yet, an investment of at least $250,000 is necessary for access to customized services.

Considering the vast network of advisors at Merrill Lynch, it’s wise to engage with one to benefit from their investment strategies. The client should ask the advisor about their active or passive approach. Understanding the recommended strategies for asset allocation and diversification is beneficial.

Understanding a client’s financial status and personal objectives enables an advisor to develop an investment plan that aligns with those ambitions.

Testimonial From Satisfied Clients

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Fees Under Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Specific programs have standard fee schedules, as shown in the tables below:

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Program Fee Schedules

Program nameAnnual Fee
Merrill Guided Investing0.45%
Merrill Guided Investing, with the help of a dedicated advisor0.85%

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Strategic Portfolio Advisor Service

Dollar value of assetsMaximum annual fee for equity/balanced/convertible/REITMaximum annual fee for fixed income
Up to $4.99 million1.50%0.70%
$5 million to $9.99 million1.00%0.60%
$10 million to $14.99 million0.85%0.50%
$15 million to $19.99 million0.75%0.45%
$20 million to $24.99 million0.70%0.40%
$25 million to $49.99 million0.60%0.40%
$50 million or greaterDetermined by mutual AgreementDetermined by mutual Agreement

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Managed Account Service

Dollar value of assetsMaximum annual fee for equity/balanced/convertible/REITMaximum annual fee for fixed income
UP to $1 million1.80%0.65%
$1 million to $1.99 million1.35%0.65%
$2 million to $4.99 million1.35%0.50%
$5 million to $9.99 million1.00%0.45%
$10 million or greaterDetermined by mutual agreementDetermined by mutual agreement

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Awards and Recognition                

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Awards and Recognition

Merrill continues to maintain its standing as a top firm, with the most advisors honored by Forbes as “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors” in 2023. Such success is measured by factors including industry experience, team structure, and assets under management; 383 Merrill advisors were named to Forbes’ list of “Top Next-Gen Best-in-State Wealth Advisors.”

In 2023, Merrill won recognition for “Top 100 Women Financial Advisors,” featuring 21 advisors, of whom 19 were chosen among the “Top 100 Financial Advisors.” They were also included in the list of 34 teams, presenting 34 Private Wealth Advisors in Barron’s “Top 100 Private Wealth Management Teams,” for that year and 51 in the list compiled by Forbes, called “America’s Top Wealth Advisors.

Minimum Investment for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor

Fees under Merrill Lynch Wealth Management vary with the account size. In addition to these fees, there is also what the company calls a Style Manager fee, depending on whether you choose a particular style of management strategy.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management does not require a minimum investment for its financial advisory services. But if you choose a comprehensive investment strategy plan, you will pay about $5,000, while the customized plan costs $20,000. It is not a big deal, especially living in New York.

At Pillar Wealth Management, we follow a fee-only model. Our fees are a fixed percentage of the liquid investable asset you ask us to manage. We like to keep things simple. Following a fee-only model best serves our customers because our financial incentives align with the quality of advice our advisors provide to match our customers’ priorities. There is no motivation to “push” or “market” a product to the client to earn a commission. Get in touch with Hutch Ashoo to know more about Pillar’s fee-only structure.

Is Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Going Out of Business?

Is Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Going Out of Business

Bank of America has stated that Merrill Lynch Management is not going anywhere; the intention is to change the name to BofA Securities Inc. and introduce several new strategies in the market.

Merrill Lynch Accounts for High-Net-Worth Individuals

Many believe that having a lot of money simplifies life. Yet, it’s essential to understand that increased wealth brings greater responsibilities, including safeguarding and enhancing that wealth. To meet financial objectives, meticulous planning and strategic thinking are necessary, especially when dealing with a portfolio valued at several million dollars.

Merrill Lynch accounts for high-net-worth individuals and focuses on goal identification. The advisor holds a review meeting with the client once every year. This approach works well for those who don’t have much time to spend in long meetings and are comfortable with wealth advisors handling all the decisions.

A boutique firm can be an excellent fit for ultra-high-net-worth individuals who feel more comfortable knowing they can email or pick up the phone and speak directly to their wealth management advisor whenever needed. For example, at Pillar Wealth Management, we know every client by their first name.

Wealth management firms work with clients having a certain level of wealth, including Merrill Lynch, which historically has catered to individuals who have $1 million or more in investible liquid assets. However, some Merrill advisors may work with a minimum account size of at least $10 million.

Merrill Lynch has an investment advisory program called Merrill Edge, which is an automated online program. Anyone with as little as $5,000 can get started with online investing.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s pros and cons

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s pros and cons


Broad menu of programs

The firm offers something for just about every investor. Merrill clients can purchase discretionary or non-discretionary accounts. The array of investment possibilities is vast, including securities and alternatives. Managers may be Merrill advisors or external third-party advisors.

Accessible nationwide

Merrill offers a range of financial services across almost 3,000 locations countrywide, simplifying in-person consultations with advisors.

Access to internal research

Within the Bank of America framework, Merrill Lynch equips its financial consultants with insights from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. In the 2023 Institutional Investor All-America survey, this esteemed research institution was rated the top among over 3,500 companies. Bank of America serves over 57 million customers and runs an extensive system of 15,000 ATMs.

A digital advisory program with or without an advisor

For clients wishing to use online tools, Merrill’s robo-advisor charges 0.45% of assets under management. The cost is 0.85% for online investing and an online human advisor.

National recognition

Annually, advisors from Merrill receive accolades in studies by renowned outlets like Forbes and Barron’s.


It is challenging to determine fees in advance.

Other than the Guided Investing program (online with or without an advisor), clients must select the program they want before knowing what fees they will pay. However, it will usually be a percentage of the assets they invest, plus other possible fees.

Not every advisor offers each service

Merrill’s product offerings can vary depending on the advisor and the program selected, making selecting an advisor time-consuming and requiring research to meet the client’s needs.

Potential conflicts of interest

At Merrill, as with other large firms, advisors will try to recommend the company’s products and funds that pay the highest fees. Advisors who are registered broker-dealers and insurance agents are compensated when they sell specific securities and insurance products. These conflicts do not always serve the client’s best interests.

Pays for referrals

Merrill pays third parties when they recommend clients, and the compensation is paid from the client’s advisory fee.

Long list of disciplinary disclosures

A quick look at Google shows Merrill has a long list of disclosures with the SEC. Investors should know where they invest and what the risk is.

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