BofA Hires Nearly 40 Advisers for Merrill Edge

Bank of America has hired nearly 40 Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisors (FSAs) in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

BofA reports that these FSAs will provide financial solutions and guidance to help customers manage their banking and investment needs. The hiring is part of Bank of America’s stated plan to nearly double the number of Financial Solutions Advisors to more than 1,000 nationally by the end of 2011.

“Preferred customers” – those with investable assets of $50,000 to $250,000 – are among the fastest-growing segments in the financial services industry, according to BofA.  According to a recent Merrill Edge Report, some of the top priorities for Preferred customers include wanting a better retirement than their parents (85%), having access to both banking and investing solutions (73%), and maintaining the ability to track and manage their money (72%).

“The build-up of a dedicated team of Preferred customer specialists is part of a strategy to offer a differentiated experience to our Preferred and small business customers in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Tony Burns, Merrill Edge Mid-Atlantic regional sales manager. “By adding FSAs in the banking centers, we offer customers the benefit of in-person attention from a specialist who can help them meet their entire financial needs across banking and investing.”

In support of its new Preferred service strategy, Bank of America is also working to enhance customer experience and satisfaction by:

  • Introducing specialty stores that provide in-person access to investment, small business, and mortgage specialists and use technologies such as video conferencing. Bank of America has already introduced five of these stores in the Washington, D.C., area.
  • Continuing to improve the Merrill Edge offering, including the introduction of a mobile application for iPad, iPhone, and BlackBerry earlier this year, and the addition of 481 new no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds.
  • Piloting Platinum Privileges, which reward customers who maintain $50,000 or more in deposit balances with Bank of America or investment balances with Merrill Edge with higher levels of service and comprehensive benefits across their banking and investing needs.
  • Hiring 1,000 small-business bankers in local communities to provide small business customers with local specialists to address their complex financial needs. Together with the 1,000 FSAs, this will create a 2,000-plus person team dedicated to the more complex needs of Preferred and small-business customers.