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As of this year, Merrill Lynch has over 14,000 Financial Advisors and $2.3 trillion in Client Balances.

According to Investors Business Daily, the wirehouse isn’t only trying to lure top performing and experienced financial advisors. Merrill Lynch is continuing to invest significant funds to make sure that “high-potential performers” will stick with the company.

“It’s much longer than other training programs,” Jennifer MacPhee, an advisor training executive at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, told Investors Business Daily. “And we keep them on salary the whole time.”

Merrills’ Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP) has more than 3500 participants and lasts up to three and a half years. The program is designed to develop the critical skills and knowledge necessary for building a successful wealth management business. The program includes resources on how to acquire clients, enhance relationships, provide tailored strategies and more.

The 43-month program consists of five stages.

Training Development Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
First 4 months Next 3 months Next 12 months Second 12 months Third 12 months
Orientation and licensing

Business and marketing plans

Sales skills

Goals-based wealth management


Conducting meetings

Expansion on training in previous stages Mastery of roles, tasks, and activities

Advanced training on systems and tools

Advanced training on client service, systems and tools

During the FADP, trainees receive extensive support, including:

  • A base salary plus bonus potential
  • Competitive health, retirement and workplace benefits
  • Preparation for registration exams, including Series 7 and Series 66
  • One-on-one coaching and support during each phase of the program

Training Programs for Financial Advisors

Get in touch with one of our Financial Advisor Recruiters to find out if you might be a good candidate for Merrill Lynchs’ Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP), or one of the other training programs offered by several companies in the Financial Services Industry.


Original Article Jul 20, 2012 – According to the newly released Reuters report last week, Merrill Lynch is on target to having 2,500 hires on board by the end of the year.

Over the last 18 months, Merrill has made significant changes in their hiring and training programs. The changes include expanding the candidate talent pool and including internal recruiters into the effort.

Leadership for the financial advisor training program includes one executive in each market exclusively focused on the program and a formal mentorship program for the trainees, with the mentors being compensated for the success their trainees achieve.

Content of the training program has been changed including the initial exam process. Emphasis on sales skills, with executive coaches and training for the certified financial planner exam have been refined.

So, what’s behind this push to grow their advisor force? Recent data put out by Ceruilli Associates that the bulk of wirehouse advisors or 60% are heading for retirement. In addition competition for top advisory talent remains high leading advisors to jump to other wirehouses or regional or independent firms as they search for the best deals.

One thing has not changed, according to Tom Fickinger, head of advisor growth and development for Merrill: “…the kind of candidates the firm seeks—typically 36 years old and some record of prior success, such as being a top MBA student or a military professional. Merrill’s trainees, with specific sets of skills are used in filling out existing advisory teams with a specific need.”