From the March 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Merrill Discovers Retirement

Sidebar to the Cover Story "Custom Job"

It appears that Merrill Lynch, now ensconced in Bank of America, has realized the importance of retirement planning to its clients and potential clients, and the complexities that go along with retirement planning, and is moving to better position its army of financial advisors to compete in the space.

Speaking to reporters on January 14, Sallie Krawcheck, president of Bank of America Global Wealth and Investment Management, lauded the broker force at Merrill, noting the long average tenure of its brokers and the high investments the firm makes in training and technology. On retirement specifically, she noted that 20% of the Merrill broker force already had accreditation in retirement--that is, have the CRPC designation, or Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, a designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning.

Krawcheck went on to deliver the findings of a Merrill quarterly survey on affluent Americans and retirement, which found, for example, that only 31% of respondents had worked with an advisor when planning for retirement, while more than half (55%) wished they had started doing so sooner.

Krawcheck said that "Helping our clients plan for retirement will continue to be a core focus for our business in the years ahead," and that its "experienced Financial Advisors" will work closely with clients "to better understand their lifetime aspirations," and that coupling this "personal approach" of the brokerage force, offering "a sophisticated portfolio of financial solutions," will help clients "minimize the complexity and uncertainty associated with retirement, allowing them to concentrate on what matters most."

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