New Merrill Lynch Leadership Duo Masks Years Long Attrition Problem By Hiring Rookies (nearly 800 a year)

As the old football saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have THE quarterback you want.” That seems to be the case with Merrill Lynch’s new leadership duo, Eric Schimpf and Lindsay Hans.

And true to form (and probably why they were selected) they’ve gotten a headstart hatching a scheme to properly hide the years long mass exodus of headcount at the firm. Merrill claims attrition remains ‘steady’ at a 4% annualized clip, while they are hiring 200 new brokers per quarter and counting them in the mix. (It’s okay to laugh).

During their initial 100 days as presidents of Merrill Lynch, Eric Schimpf and Lindsay Hans embarked on an extensive journey, traversing over 20 markets, which included cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Detroit. Their purpose was to engage with advisors, client associates, market executives, and specialists, gaining valuable insights into the various regions.

After Bank of America’s recent earnings release, Schimpf and Hans revealed the new growth strategy they developed along the way. This strategy revolves around two key pillars: hiring and training. Merrill Lynch has been actively enrolling new talent at a rate of 200 individuals per quarter, and the current roster boasts around 2,500 newbies. Notably, the second quarter saw the onboarding of 190 advisors.

Additionally, the co-heads emphasized their dedication to bolstering the existing teams of advisors, focusing on helping them handle the complexities that accompany growth. As the firm’s size increases, it is crucial for teams to adapt and thrive. Despite this expansion, Merrill Lynch has managed to maintain its historical attrition rate, standing at approximately 4%.

Schimpf expressed the immense value of the nationwide visits, which allowed them to gain first-hand knowledge of the firm’s diverse operations. These interactions with team members played a significant role in refining their strategic vision for the future. Schimpf and Hans stepped into their roles as Merrill co-heads in March, following the departure of Andy Sieg, who is set to join Citigroup in the upcoming fall.

Hans outlined the strategy as being built upon capitalizing on the wealth management unit’s reputation as the preferred destination for talented professionals. This reputation is fueled by the unit’s consistent growth and innovative practices, making it an attractive choice for aspiring financial advisors.

As Merrill Lynch looks ahead, their commitment to fostering talent and supporting their existing advisors’ growth will be fundamental to their continued success. The strategic vision that Schimpf and Hans have developed promises to strengthen the firm’s position as a leading wealth management provider, maintaining its appeal as a premier choice for both clients and professionals alike.

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