Targeted to 11 million people the company refers to as the “mass affluent” demographic, BofA Merrill Lynch created Merrill Edge to bring together all the capabilities of the financial giant and offer them to its every-day banking clients at Bank of America. BofA Merrill Lynch says there are nearly 11 million BofA customers that will form the next generation of affluent investors, referring to them as the “mass affluents.” The launch of Merrill Edge is the final step in the integration of Banc of America Investment Services, Inc. self-directed accounts, Merrill Lynch Direct, and Merrill Lynch Financial Advisory Center, the company reported in a news release.
Merrill Edge clients will be able to choose a self-directed investing account or an account through the Merrill Edge Advisory Center for financial guidance.Highlights of the Merrill Edge platform include:
- Financial advice and guidance from nearly 600 Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisers (In a press briefing discussing Merrill Edge, company spokesmen say they plan to increase the number of advisers present in BofA branches to 1,000 by the end of the year.)
- Ability to view all accounts online, including 401(k) and brokerage from Merrill Lynch, and checking, savings, and credit cards from Bank of America. The ability to move money between accounts can be made in real-time.
- Access to accounts via 18,000 ATMs, select banking centers, priority servicing through customer contact centers, mobile and text capabilities, and an online platform
- Access to BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, third-party commentary, and market news
- Full suite of financial services, including banking and credit from Bank of America, and retirement and investment solutions from Merrill Lynch
- Pricing will depend on a client’s relationship with BofA Merrill Lynch, and includes $0 self-directed online equity trades for qualified customers
“By bringing together the banking strength of Bank of America with the investment insights of Merrill Lynch, Merrill Edge can now offer our customers a way to view and access their banking and investing accounts online – any way they want – with access to a full array of solutions,” said Joe Price, president of Consumer and Small Business Banking at Bank of America.
BofA is also planning to deliver a new recognition and benefits program, Platinum Privileges. It will offer higher levels of service and comprehensive rewards across banking and investing for customers who maintain $50,000 or more in deposit accounts with BofA or investment balances with Merrill Edge. The program is being piloted to new customers in Arizona, Georgia, and Massachusetts and available to existing customers nationwide later this year.