Bank of America (BAC) said early Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profits increased 9% to $3.3 billion, or $0.28 per share, from $3.1 billion, or $0.25 per share, a year earlier. Excluding accounting adjustments and onetime items, its net income was $0.29 a share, topping analysts’ estimates.
Revenue, however, fell short of estimates at $19.5 billion, a jump of roughly 4% from last year.
The bank’s global wealth group, which includes Merrill Lynch, saw its results weaken — with net income falling 9% year over year to $614 million and revenue down nearly 4% to $4.4 billion. Its pretax margin was 21%, while long-term assets flows were $6.7 billion in Q4.
“Strong client activity, as demonstrated by long-term AUM flows and deposit flows, was more than offset by difficult markets causing lower asset management fees and transactional revenue,” BofA said in a statement.
For the full year, the wealth and investment unit reported a 2% drop in revenue to $18 billion in 2015. Net income declined 13% to $2.6 billion.
The Merrill Lynch group of advisors includes 14,533 registered reps, up 448 from a year ago but down 30 from the prior quarter.
On average, the advisors have annual fees & commissions of $990,000; however, veteran advisors’ average productivity is $1.3 million. With total assets of about $2 trillion, Merrill FAs have about $138 million in assets under management per rep.
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