Whoops–Merrill Poster Boy No Longer Works at Merrill
It’s not exactly Charlie Merrill in flagrante delicto with a 1920s showgirl, but even Merrill Lynch has to be reminded that litter left online can be embarrassing.
In an attempt to replenish its aging broker workforce – a challenge for the entire brokerage industry, where the average advisor is in his or her late 50s – Merrill has a well-designed Web pitch for recruiting nonfinancial talent to its 43-month Practice Management Development (PMD) training program.
“Our training program has been the start of many success stories,” the recruiting page chortles as it directs readers to hyperlinks for three such tales. The third link, “Read Charlie Marks’ Story,” chronicles the inspiring journey of a Baltimore-based gunslinger who, “five years into his tenure,…looks back on the PMD program as a critical foundation for what has become much more than a job.”
Unfortunately for Merrill, Charlie Marks left last October 20 to join a Wells Fargo Advisors private client group branch down the street. Reached at his Baltimore office, the 27-year-old broker said he was too busy working with clients to realize that his testimonial to training at Merrill still lives.
[Editor’s Note: Merrill removed the Charlie Marks story from the site after we published this. Click on the image above for a screenshot of the vanished page.]
He still praises the firm and its strong resources, noting that it had even reached out to him with advice on how the pending Labor Department fiduciary rule could impact his large IRA rollover practice. His decision to leave was local and cultural, he said, mentioning a branch that seemed a little too territorial and a compliance officer who was a little too intrusive regarding his cold-calling preferences.
As for the PMD program, he said he graduated after only a year because he was doing so well with his client prospecting. (More than 90 percent of his clients have jumped with him to Wells, Marks said.)
Merrill spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment.
So don’t kick yourself too hard over that Facebook photo from one beclouded night years ago or that glowing LinkedIn testimonial to the ex-boss you never want to see again. Even the powerful Bank of America and its Merrill Lynch brokerage unit don’t have internet marketing down to a science.