| NEW YORK, April 7
NEW YORK, April 7 Bank of America's
Merrill Lynch brokerage unit is launching a renewed push to
recruit and train young advisers to supplement a sales force
that is aging industry-wide, Merrill Lynch head Andy Sieg said
"Make no mistake, when we look out over the next 10 years
the thundering herd will be growing," Sieg said, speaking at the
Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association's
(SIFMA)Private Client Conference in Arizona.
Roughly half of financial advisers are over 55, and 100,000
brokers will likely retire over the next decade, according to
research firm Cerulli Associates. The brokerage industry, built
around lofty sales goals and an eat-what-you-kill mentality, has
struggled to attract and keep successful younger advisers.
Merrill Lynch, which typically refers to its financial
advisers as the "thundering herd," runs one of the biggest
training programs on Wall Street, with 3,500 trainees currently
in its three-year practice management program. It hires around
1,500 trainees to the program annually.
Industry-wide, around half of adviser trainees drop out
before finishing the programs, according to media reports.
Merrill Lynch does not make public the attrition numbers, but
reported in January that it was at a record low.
On Thursday at the SIFMA conference, Cheri Lytle, Merrill
Lynch's head of adviser and strategy development, acknowledged
the difficulty of attracting millennials to brokerage jobs that
require long hours and offer little flexibility.
"They have a lot of leverage," Lytle said. "They're not
going to sign up to these lofty sales goals if they don't want."
Merrill Lynch will look for new recruits from "all walks of
life," Sieg said, including teachers, entrepreneurs and former
Sieg said he thinks Merrill Lynch's business divisions, from
Merrill Edge, which has brokers inside Bank of America branches,
up to the firm's high-end Private Banking and Investment Group,
will improve training success because there are more options.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Leslie Adler)