Sieg to Merrill Brokers: Your Goal Is Five New Accounts
Andy Sieg, the head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, is driving home the message to the firm’s nearly 15,000 brokers that they need to find new business fast.
In his quarterly call with the field to review earnings on Tuesday, Sieg said that he had a new goal for them: Open five new accounts in 2018. The goal is aimed at narrowing a dismal statistic. The average Merrill broker in the past year has opened fewer than one net new account, a figure disturbing to the firm’s parent, Bank of America.
On a gross basis, the average number of new accounts opened year-to-date is two, Sieg said in Tuesday’s call, according to brokers who listened to the update.
Sieg’s prodding lays the ground for the 2018 compensation plan that Merrill is expected to unveil in early November. The plan will likely include a new-account metric with payout grid-related penalties for stasis or losses, and rewards for growth, according to people familiar with the strategy.
The drive to bring in new households, requiring a minimum of $250,000 within the wealth management group and $10 million at the private banking and investment group, was signaled in August when Merrill rolled out an eight-month campaign to build new client accounts, assets and loans. The 400 most productive Merrill advisors between August 1 and the end of March, as measured by the account-generation metrics, will be awarded trips to their choice of a summer or winter resort.
Sieg’s cheerleading for five new annual accounts this week was a “directional” prod, not a quota, said a person familiar with his thinking.
Under Bank of America Chairman Brian Moynihan’s mandate for “responsible growth,” Sieg has been flogging so-called organic account growth while eliminating the tried-and-true but expensive method of asset accumulation through the hiring of veteran advisors.