Help, and the “importance of culture at this organization,” are what Sallie Krawcheck spoke of on October 5th at her first press conference as president of Global Wealth Management & Investment Management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Bank of America is staking $20 million–in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone–on its re-introduction of the Merrill Lynch brand, with a new ad campaign aimed at “affluent” and high-net-worth investors. Merrill Lynch also has ultra-high-net-worth investors at the Private Bank and Investment Group and, of course, Bank of America owns U.S. Trust.
Krawcheck will oversee nearly 15,000 reps at Merrill Global Wealth Management, the private bank, U.S Trust and the investment management arm of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The essence of the new Merrill Lynch is an emphasis, says Krawcheck, on “one-to-one relationships” with clients, “putting clients first,” delivering “personalized advice” that’s “in their best interests.” This all sounds like the kind of personalized advice delivered by investment advisors–but according to Krawcheck, it’s delivered by Merrill Lynch registered representatives–”financial advisors.”
So if that’s what the new Merrill Lynch is about, then does that mean that the firm is embracing the fiduciary standard that is part of the proposed Investor Protection Act now being intensely debated in Washington?