Andy Sieg of Merrill Lynch Wealth Investments stated that the new retirement system for Bank of America is to “provide clients with greater choice and flexibility while maintaining our support for the best interest standard for investment advice across all accounts.” With this in mind, Merrill Lynch has reintroduced products paid on commission, in particular for retirement planning clients.
Many banks and brokerage houses moved to a fee based system across the board just a couple of years ago when it looked as if that was the best way to handle proposed legislation. However, a republican controlled White House and Congress has shown a dislike for regulating the financial markets.
Given Wells Fargo’s issues a few years ago with cross selling clients, and multiple lawsuits sighting hidden fees within retirement plans, this may prove somewhat controversial as the industry considers the new political climate. For Community Banks in particular, it is worth considering state law as states such as New York have been quick to implement their own standards of best practices.
It is important to note that Bank of America has only implemented commission payments in certain areas such as the retirement product side and has not reversed its entire fee based practice.