Wirehouse Merrill Lynch is staking the growth of its wealth management force on young advisors, boosting advisor trainee pay and ramping up their hiring, according to news reports.

The wirehouse has increased trainee pay by $10,000 a year, Think Advisor writes. The current pay is now $65,000, according to the publication, which cites an earlier report in Business Insider.

The wirehouse has also hired 1,700 new trainee advisors so far in 2019, compared to just 100 in the same period last year, Think Advisor writes. Merrill Lynch has also assigned 75 managers to coach and monitor the firm’s 3,500 trainee advisors, Business Insider reported, according to Think Advisor.

Merrill Lynch has shed some veteran brokers this year. At the end of June, the firm had 14,690 advisors, down 71 from the previous quarter and 130 fewer than a year prior.

Most recently, the wirehouse lost several advisors to RBC Wealth Management, Ameriprise Financial and First Republic. The wirehouse also recently lost four advisors collectively managing $950 million to Stifel Financial, Think Advisor writes.

While it’s stepping up efforts to lure young talent, Merrill Lynch is staying away from replenishing its advisor ranks with industry veterans from rival wirehouses Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and UBS, according to the publication.


Merrill Lynch’s recruitment of experienced advisors is focused on regional and independent broker-dealers instead and is “pretty narrow” overall, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management President Andy Sieg said, according to the Business Insider report cited by Think Advisor.