75% of Client Managers laid off at B of A today

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BACFA's picture
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Does anyone know how the few remaining CM's will be utilized at Merrill Lynch?  I am hearing that they will be assigned to ML offices.  They will either be:
!.  A credit and mortgage specialist that the brokers can utilize to help them close business.
or
2. CM's like the old B of A days where they are allowed access to all the clients and can call them at will.
 
I'm not sure how receptive the ML brokers will be to #2.

CDO Squared's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-20

what is a client manager

BACFA's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-26

The salaried bankers that were supposed to work with advisors on generating referrals.  It worked so well that they've shut the entire division down.

BAI?'s picture
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I herd they will be moved to ML offices.   The real question is were does that leave BAI?  In ML offices?  Will we stay in the branches?  Only time will tell.....

The One-Eyed Man's picture
Joined: 2009-01-13

That 75% number turned out to be b.s.  Essentially all of the client managers/banking specialists were severed, effective end of month.

 
Wirehouse model here we come.  Eat what you kill.

Philo Kvetch's picture
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I feel for you BAI/Merrill guys. Honestly, I do. I could only believe that if it were me, I'd be getting as many brokers together as I could and form our own firm.

Bank of Amerrill's picture
Joined: 2009-01-27

I feel bad for the BofA folks that are feeling the pain. I came to Merrill from BofA and now I'm watching friends drop left and right in this business. Sad times.

whalehunter's picture
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The One-Eyed Man wrote:That 75% number turned out to be b.s.  Essentially all of the client managers/banking specialists were severed, effective end of month.

 
Wirehouse model here we come.  Eat what you kill.
Where did you get 100% from???

josephjones107's picture
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this merger might not be a bad idea. Give good agressive brokers-merrill access to all the banking clients at BofA. in the long run, ken lewis may not have screwed up on this one   

whalehunter's picture
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josephjones107 wrote:this merger might not be a bad idea. Give good agressive brokers-merrill access to all the banking clients at BofA. in the long run, ken lewis may not have screwed up on this one   
rotflmao 

bankfa10's picture
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The thundering herd is thundering out the door!

bondo's picture
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bankfa10 wrote:The thundering herd is thundering out the door!
 
True, but these client managers are on the Bank of America side.

armycolors's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-14

R.I.P. to all CMs who got slaughtered in this wave.

Don Draper's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-27

anyone who got cut willing to share the severance info?

Omar's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-19

2 weeks for each year of service.

Phan2om's picture
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No fan of this ML/BofA combination, but this move was not surprising.  Think about it, BofA just eliminated more fixed compensation expenses.  These people were traffic cops just directing customers to the appropriate area.  Why do that when BofA can let the Merrill advisors have access to their client base?
 
Everyone should remember that banks are looking to do two things: cut expenses and find more ways to distribute bank products/services.  The elimination of the CMs cut expenses, and they have ML now to distribute their banking/lending products and services.  This blueprint will continue.

Omar's picture
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Yeah, but for those FAs who had CMs service their clients' banking needs, a few questions remain.

Who will take care of their banking needs going forward? If they are going back to the consumer bank to stand in line at the understaffed bank branch, it's not good news for our clients.

I've got no problem getting paid if I sell a CD or Mortgage, but the service work has to be done by someone else.

MinimumVariance's picture
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Having previously worked at BofA (in IBanking) I can attest to their culture of agressively pursuing mediocrity.

BAI?'s picture
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Joined: 2008-11-04

 
Omar- <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I believe that the PRC will still service those clients and the smaller clients will be moved back to consumer.
 
I'm not sure about you guys but the branch has a different feeling now that they are gone.  I have to thank ML for schooling these stupid banker’s on how to run a brokerage firm.  We have been screaming for years to change this platform!  It didn’t work the day I got here five years ago and it didn’t work the day they where fired. 
 
Thanks ML

The One-Eyed Man's picture
Joined: 2009-01-13

Hey BAI:
Waiting an hour on the phone to speak to someone at the PRC will not work for the higher net worth clients of the bank. 
 
More importantly, leaving all of the CMs in place for two weeks to close loans for the quarter is one of the dumbest business moves I have ever seen.  Leaving disgruntled, terminated employees to mine the client data and look for their next banking job will surely result in a significant exodus of good BAC clients to the competition.  That fact will also impact BAI FAs in a big way.
 
Let's get real...with Merrill now running the show, BAI reps and BAI management ultimately will be marginalized to the point of extinction.  What delicious irony...Merrill was on its knees begging for BAC to save it, and now BAI is taking in the a**.

Omar's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-19

Yeah, I agree with One-Eyed Man.

Many clients appreciated sending a quick email or talking directly to their CM when they needed something done. Now, after they were sold the PB&I model, they are getting kicked out and will have to deal with the PRC until those people are also canned.   

So, the way I see it, I will have to assume the CMs role in order to keep my clients from being even more pissed off without any compensation of course!

One question....not all CMs were canned, so what is their new role going to be?

BAI?'s picture
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The one-eyed man <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I agree with you on most points.  Leaving those CM's in until April is ridiculous!  All the CM's are doing is having meetings with their top clients (the one's I never met) and using the current negative situation to convince the clients to follow them.  Also, what do you think a CM will do with these loan's in there pipeline?  Close them or maybe send those loans to there buddy down the street and get paid CA$H. 
 
 I disagree that any clients they steal will have any effect on me for one simple reason.  I never met those large clients!   They horded those relationships because it was a power struggle and they wanted to be the go to person.  That is BAC’s biggest mistake!
 
How can you say this is delicious irony?  BAI didn't buy ML it was BAC.  Also, BAI will be extinct because we are being rolled into ML and for me that’s a BIG upgrade in technology, products, compliance and most of all a firm who actually wants their brokers to produce.
 
At the end of the day this will all settle down and we can get back to work.   I look forward to the day when our blogs on Registered Rep turn positive......
 

The One-Eyed Man's picture
Joined: 2009-01-13

Omar:
 
With respect to the few CMs remaining, my understanding is they are acting as banking specialists and may be available to help out clients who have a pressing matter and cannot go through the PRC.  Obviously, those CMs are going to be slammed with work and probably will give their own clients priority.
 
As you probably know, there is an All Hands call on Tuesday for the alleged purpose of rolling out the "new" business model.  The fallout from that call should be interesting, particularly given most of the BAI reps were at BAI because of the "old" model (i.e., being teed up with prospects through the CMs) and the fact that model was not the "wirehouse" model (i.e., eat what you kill). 
 
A wise man once told me "always have three outs."  Good advice in these times.
  

B0NEHEAD's picture
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Do you all, and BAI management for that matter, think for one minute that a client with a million bucks is going to be okay with calling an 800 number or going into an understaffed banking center for their banking needs? The model could have been amazing, but every year since its introduction they screwed it up with stupid and petty incentive plan changes. Now that the ship is sinking, this is where they decide that they can cut costs. The Merrill model won't work here because Merrill never did the volume of banking transactions that BAI clients do. This will be one of those storied failures that entire books are written about. ALL HAIL THE THUNDERING TURD!!!!!

Omar's picture
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BAI?

I wouldn't worry about CMs taking clients anywhere. What other firm has an equivalent position and/or is hiring? Also, unless those clients have investment accounts with BAI, they are unlikely to move their banking relationship. Most CMs were NOT great relationship managers.

As far as loans in the pipeline, the CMs are probably going to hand them off to their local AE, which should have been done in the first place.

The One-Eyed Man's picture
Joined: 2009-01-13

BAI?:
 
I hear your frustration and I understand it.  I haven't been with BAI for as long as you apparently have, so I have not seen all of the b.s. you have had to put up with (I have heard about it from other FAs).  I also have read all of the posts on this forum regarding BAI and understand the issues. 
 
My experience with BAI is quite different from yours.  I was lucky enough to have a couple of very good CMs who were willing to put their best clients/prospects in front of me.  So I will miss those ladies and that business model.
 
I'm not naive...I knew that when BAC purchased ML, BAI would be rolled up into ML in one form or fashion.  What I meant about the irony comment is for being "the smartest guys in the room (other than the Enron execs)," ML's execs fu%$ed up their company to a fair thee well.  Yet, BAC apparently is fine with letting ML call all of the shots regarding the new brokerage business.  That's their perogative.  I just hope they do a better job with Merrill Lynch 2.0.
 
Given you have been with BAI for several years with little or no help from CMs, I would presume an "eat what you kill" model should work for you.  Other than great technology, don't expect to receive any other help building your business from ML. They expect you to rise or fall on your own.  It sounds like that works for you.  If so, good luck. 

BACFA's picture
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The ML "takeover" of BAI is a good thing.  BAI never had a say in any of the top executive decisions because there were only 2000 advisors.  And I will take a Merrill management system over the bank's anyday.
B0nehead:  How many picky million dollar clients did the average CM service? I would say four or five at the most.  And with most CM's only bringing in a handful of first mortgages last year, how can the bank justify paying them their salaries.  It certainly wasn't for their service acumen because most CM's would transfer any service needs to the PRC.  I would say were the most overpaid salaried personnel that I have ever seen in the bank environment.  I still feel bad for the ones that I am friends with, but it's like they won the lottery for a few years and now they ran out of scratch-offs.

BACFA's picture
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One-Eyed Man: The banking center is still there to give referrals.  This may change if ML decides to stick a bunch of their brokers into the banks.  However, banking center referrals require a bit of finesse and butt-kissing that most MLers do not possess.
ML's Investment Banking under O'Neal is where the problem started.  But ML always ran a fine broker force.  BAC's ability to manage brokers has had a horrendous history. While all the other firms were increasing headcount, BAC + Quick Reilly remained at 2000 advisors for 5 years.  This includes the CM and US Trust referral enticements and transition money that was ahead of other large banks.

B0NEHEAD's picture
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BACFA, clearly you had some pretty crummy CMs. I on the other hand had some pretty outstanding ones that I am very sorry to see fired. They handled all of the banking needs for my top clients, and handled them well. They also put me in front of their best clients. The million dollar number was a random selection, the same goes for those clients with $500k or even $250k. These are good clients for BAI, that are too small for UST and will now find themselves in the abyss that is consumer bank. It will fall on me to ensure that their needs are handled to their satisfaction, because no one else will take ownership. I should have time for this right between updating CCID and filling out breakpoint worksheets. As for their salaries and mortgages, how much more do you think the MLOs get paid for doing the exact same mortgages? And what's more, BAC has higher rates for clients that did their mortgages through CMs. It's a loose-loose-loose situation.

BAI?'s picture
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This post is getting FU#@ing juicy...  Thanks all for your point of views!  I think everyone has some good stuff they are saying.  <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The one eyed man
The only benefit I got from the bank was being in the bank.  I would build report with clients though my PB's or just seeing folks who are coming into the branch.  I can't say my CM never ever referred but let’s just say it all depended on how his comp plan paid him.  The toughest thing for me was me and my CM where good friends but his pockets always took precedence.  This model was a FU#$ing disaster and I am in agreement with BACFA.
 
I would keep your phone lines open and listen to the recruiters.  There will be other platforms to go to if the Tuesday call is bad news for BAI...............
 

B0NEHEAD's picture
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The model didn't have to be a disaster and it wasn't always so. What a**hole thought that dinging CMs 2.5X for withdrawals from savings was the best way to build this business and create partnerships? Why did FAs get a 10% haircut for business done jointly with their CM? When the model was first rolled out it was pretty good. But every subsequent change since then drove a deeper wedge between FAs and CMs. They never truly aligned our interests and thought that just talking about "partnerships" was enough. Talk is cheap and the greedy bastards at the top of the lines of businesses didn't want to make the same self sacrificing decisions that the FAs and CMs had to make everyday in order to put their client's interests first.

Omar's picture
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Bonehead,

You said it perfect...the model was a great idea and could have been amazing if it wasn't for the complicated, ever changing comp plans.   

My CM referred quite a bit of business my way over the past few years and his departure will hurt me. We sold the "partnership" model to our clients and in return he got a lot assets and loans for both him and me. I still have my branches which do refer, but how long will that last?

Whether you had a great CM or not, if you got referrals from them....it's a loss to you going forward...

Let's see how much BS is on the call Tuesday.

Malakaman's picture
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I met w/ a MER Complex mngr & Branch mngr last week.  What they were saying was totally different than what my CM thinks they will be doing.  At least now I hear we will get paid on mortgages and cd's.

GordonGekko12's picture
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Malakaman, what does your CM think they will be doing? 

whalehunter's picture
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Not sure why any CM's thought they had a future. BofA is going to pay reps to handle accounts and they WILL force them to service them. PRC will remain as rep support and CM's are gone. They will probably attach the FA comp to all kinds of widgets to make it hard to receive this comp and thus lower production due to extra work. What a model!!

Malakaman's picture
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He's not sure what they will be doing.  They hear different things.  Bofa Bank managers tell them one thing, BAI says something else and MER says something totally different.  I'll tell you this much, I wouldnt be surprised if a lot more of the better CM's go elsewhere.  Alot of frustration and no guidance.

Omar's picture
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The remaining CMs will be glorified personal bankers that provide product support to the combined BAI/ML Advisors. I don't they will have much if any face to face interaction with clients going forward.

Whalehunter, you are correct, FAs will be forced to sell bank products with very little if any compensation.

B0NEHEAD's picture
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So how about yesterday's conference call? I love the way that guy tried to put such a positive spin on all of this. There is no freaking way that FAs will be able to do all of this. Maybe it worked at Mother Merrill, but I keep coming back to volume. They don't do anywhere near the volume of bank transactions that BOA does. The PRC is good for doing what you tell them to, but they will not take ownership of the issue and be proactive. It will be like any other BOA back office support team that could care less about our clients. It's all coming down on us and we will be bogged down with bank transactions while the Merrill brokers get all of the investment clients. We are the new CMs! I don't care how he wraps that piece of crap up, he'll never convince me it's a Tootsie Roll.........

whalehunter's picture
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So no more CM's/ Banking specialist?

Omar's picture
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I thought the most interesting comment was that he said we need to hang onto the "deposits".   Great, now I can see the new plan dinging us if our client moves their bank deposits out to another bank to get a higher rate.   I can't wait to argue about why it doesn't make sense to earn a higher rate on CDs.

Also, there is no way we are going to get enough referrals from MLOs, business bankers, or whoever else they think will refer to us to make up for the CMs. But at least they will increase our payouts and get rid of the scorecard right......

Mucho de Tejas's picture
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In the immortal words of Bob Dylan:
 
How does it feel?
How does it feel???
To be on your own...

squid66's picture
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Perhaps they could bring back legacy SB boom boom rooms (one in each branch).  CMs would them serve some kind of useful role, otherwise they are sale killers (yes, mr/ms client option arms are the best way to go).  This was the biggest POS program ever dreamed up.

BACFA's picture
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I agree with squid66 that CM's could offer some supporting role.  I actually have some cases now that a CM would be helpful on.  However, the program has been a disaster and a waste of money (acknowledged by inside managers and outside observers).

B0NEHEAD's picture
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I have no idea what you two are talking about. Either you had crummy CMs or you have no idea how to work in a partnership. I referred what I could to them and got many times that in referrals back. Clients loved the model and my CMs absolutely helped seal the deal on some big clients. Admittedly management tweaks screwed this thing up almost from the beginning, but it was working and could have been huge. The manner in which they fired the CMs is unconscionable, I don't know how these f**kers sleep at night. This company has sold its soul and completely abandoned any sense of right and wrong. Anyone remember our core values?     

Omar's picture
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Many former "Premier" clients will be getting a letter soon explaining that their credit cards have been closed. Apparently, a "third party" got a hold of their account information and now they have to worry about unauthorized charges on their accounts.

As their new "wealth advisor", I get the fun job of explaining this letter and answering any questions they have. Of course, I don't have access to their accounts to see any charges so I will be no help to them.

Welcome to the new "post premier" world of BofA.

BACFA's picture
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B0NEHEAD:  The CM program may have been working for a handful of FA's but that does not mean the program was successful:
1. No other bank program (large or small) utilizes a CM role to drive referrals to FAs.  Wachovia has been at this longer than anyone else and they have toyed with the idea but in the end, they still utilize the FS's.
2. Every other large bank program has licensed platforms to convert the deposit base into investments (ironically, the direction that Fleet/Q&R was going prior to the merger).
3. CMs were overpaid based on every metric.  Simply put, they did not bring in enough credit and deposits to justify their salary.  That is why their comp plan was constantly getting worse.  Remember when they were paid on moving money from a 6 month CD to a 9 month CD, as if they brought the money in from another bank?  Or if they fixed the rate of a HELOC and that counted as new business?  It's the stupidity of management that allowed that to happen.  But CM's should be happy that they were able to get away with our equivalent of 8% commission fixed annuity sales.
4.  After the Merrill Lynch merger, B of A could either hire more CMs or shut down the program.  I realize the economy plays a factor but I have never seen B of A shy away from spending money.  I think they realized it is one thing to make 2,000 bank brokers play nice with CM's vs. trying to get 16,000 ML advisors to "share" their clients. 
5.  Bottom line, it doesn't work and that's why nobody else does it and why B of A got rid of it.
 
Don't get me wrong, I miss their help and service when I have mortgage or deposit needs.  However, for a business, they were lottery winners.  They shouldn't have been hired at their ridiculous salaries in the first place.  It reminds me of the poor Texan farmers in the 80's that happened to live on oil-rich land so they became millionaires.  When the price of oil dropped, they became broke, with no idea how they got rich or got poor.  CM's should be happy that they made more money then they ever deserved and got a better severance package than most people out there.

whalehunter's picture
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How many CM's are left?

badmove?'s picture
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NONE, THE MODEL IS BLOWN UP. Thier new role is to work in Merril complexes and wholesale ML banking products.....thet should work great.

BACFA's picture
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badmove? is correct.  The program has been officially terminated and they will be shoehorning the CM remnants ( I would guess 10% of the CM population at its peak) into Merrill offices.  Their salaries and bonuses will be adjusted (probably downwards because the ML equivalent makes less money than the CMs).  Zero guidance at this time because most of the market managers were also let go last week.

whalehunter's picture
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Strange, I have a few friends over there who are CM's and they have no clue what will be.

Wasabi Avenger's picture
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BACFA wrote:badmove? is correct.  The program has been officially terminated and they will be shoehorning the CM remnants ( I would guess 10% of the CM population at its peak) into Merrill offices.  Their salaries and bonuses will be adjusted (probably downwards because the ML equivalent makes less money than the CMs).  Zero guidance at this time because most of the market managers were also let go last week.How much did a CM make?

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