Bank of America’s global wealth and investment management group, which includes Merrill Lynch, reported a record pre-tax margin of 26 percent for the first quarter of 2013, up from 21 percent a year ago. Within Merrill, long-term AUM flows grew to $18.7 billion, up $8.2 billion from last quarter.
Meanwhile, the firm’s advisor count ended at 16,100, down from 16,400 in the fourth quarter and 16,700 in the year-ago quarter. The firm attributed the decline to attrition of underperforming advisors in the practice management development (PMD) program.
Advisor productivity averaged $971,000 for the quarter, up 4.7 percent from the fourth quarter.
GWIM posted net income of $720 million, up 31 percent from a year ago, on revenue of $4.4 billion, up 7 percent from 2012. The increases were driven by higher asset management fees related to higher market levels and long-term AUM flows, higher transactional revenue and higher net interest income.
The group’s AUM jumped to $67.7 billion, a result of positive asset flows and market impact.
Assets under management grew $67.7 billion from the first quarter of 2012 to $745.3 billion, driven by long-term AUM flows and market impact.