Merrill Lynch Pushing More Online Content Via Flipboard

Bank of America wants its advisors to connect to clients and prospects on mobile devices as much as possible

An example of a Merrill Lynch ad to appear on Flipboard via "Forbes" and "The Atlantic" digital magazines. An example of a Merrill Lynch ad to appear on Flipboard via "Forbes" and "The Atlantic" digital magazines.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC) said Friday that it launched its own channel on Flipboard, a Web application used to assemble content on tablets, mobile phones and other smart devices.

Through this application, Merrill plans to share research, opinions and other content created by its economists, strategists and other experts on key issues such as the financial impact of aging. This Flipboard content also will be available through advertising in Forbes and The Atlantic online magazines, which are two popular feeds on Flipboard.

“We know that investors are increasingly using their mobile devices to access ideas about issues of importance to them, and delivering content through Flipboard fits in perfectly with Merrill Lynch’s overall strategy of offering high-quality thought leadership,” said Joe Corriero, head of digital marketing for Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management unit, in an interview.

“We have decided to use Flipboard as a way to instantly broaden our mobile presence and reach people when they are on the go,” Corriero added.

According to BofA-Merrill, the Flipboard channel is the latest push that aims to help the firm “deliver compelling content through diverse channels.”

“We want to be in all the places where clients want to receive information,” said Corriero. “As a firm and as a strategy, we have to cover all the access points. This is another great way to distribute content, and it’s part of our goal to cover all the bases and to connect with our audience in ways they want to connect with us.”

BofA-Merrill says it has produced customizable Web pages for most of its roughly 17,500 financial advisors. It also offers them email tools to help them create tailored content for clients.

Merrill says it is being more aggressive than its rivals because “the general public is moving to a mobile-first world,” said Corriero, rather than a computer-based world. “People are spending more and more time on tablets and other devices. This is about Merrill being ahead of the game … It all comes down to being client centric. We want to be there for them.”  

(In June 2011, Morgan Stanley let 600 advisors access LinkedIn and Twitter before rolling out use of these sites with its entire FA force of about 16,800 later in the year.)

Other steps taken recently by BofA-Merrill include: launching a Twitter page in 2011, which now has 28,000 followers; regularly sharing video content on YouTube and iTunes; hosting live webcasts on key investor topics throughout the year; and sharing ideas and articles with 120,000 followers on LinkedIn.

“We want to get content in front of those who are interested in it,” Corriero share. “This means promoting it with existing clients … and to the general public. We would for people to experience the content and decide that they’d like to talk to a Merrill Lynch advisor. It’s all about sparking conversations.”

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