Merrill Lynch financial advisors can expect Bank of America cost-cutting to take the form of greater client segmentation and reduced bureaucracy, said John Thiel, head of U.S. wealth management and the private banking and investment group for Merrill Lynch, in a recent interview. To aid in segmentation, the firm has begun providing incentives to financial advisors who pass clients with fewer than $250,000 in assets on to their discount platform Merrill Edge. They are also encouraged to work with fewer but higher-net-worth clients.

Bank of America kicked off its Project NEW BAC cost-cutting program last fall with a big management shakeup that resulted in the ouster of former Merrill Lynch head Sallie Krawcheck. The program, which will eliminate 30,000 jobs from the bank over a period of a few years, is aimed at boosting profits and the company’s foundering stock price. The cost-cutting program was broken into two phases, the second of which began in October and covers the global wealth management division, including Merrill Lynch, among other businesses. That second phase is scheduled to be completed in April...

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(Read more from Features Editor, Kristen French on her blog, Due Diligence.)