November 8, 2022
Louis Diamond Quoted
by Glenn Koch
Merrill Lynch has added a suite of pre-approved products to its dual-contract program that the wirehouse says will help advisors better cater to high-net-worth clients.
Premium Access Strategies, set to launch this month, will allow advisors to access third-party investment managers such as AllianceBernstein, BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, Lord Abbett, Natixis Investment Managers/Loomis Sayles, Nuveen and Pimco, according to a press release announcing the program. The investment managers have been vetted by Merrill’s home-office research team and can help tailor strategies to meet individuals’ specific goals. Clients negotiate management fees with the provider.
“I think having the option to be dual contract is definitely helpful in recruiting advisors, because it allows the advisor or the client to negotiate a manager fee directly, rather than being stuck with the pricing that the firm has,” says Louis Diamond, president of advisor-recruiting firm Diamond Consultants.
“It might be helpful if, for instance, an advisor has a manager at a lower price from a competing firm, then at least they don’t have to raise the fee or eat into their own profits by having a higher fee at a new firm,” Diamond added.
By ensuring that the managers on the platform have been vetted by the due-diligence and research teams, Merrill also provides a layer of compliance and protects against advisors and clients being burned by strategies that may not have been reviewed as thoroughly.
Such risk is among the reasons wirehouse rival Morgan Stanley earlier this year informed advisors that unless they began using products pre-approved by the home office within the Investment Management Services dual-contract program, they could expect to take a hit in compensation. Advisors working with institutional clients are excepted from the July 2022 policy change.