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imageMerrill appears to be intent to grab as many top Morgan Stanley financial advisors as possible, even arming their managers with lists of advisors to target, according to The Wall Street Journal on Oct 2, 2012. (With offers as high as $1. 5 million upfront not including deferred compensation for advisors with $1 million in production)*

Morgan Stanley has undergone significant changes including branch and non-producing manager cuts, but Bill Willis, President and CEO of Willis-Consulting, Inc. sees it this way:

“New recruits are more interested in talking to Merrill Lynch now than they were roughly one year ago when that firm was enduring its own growing pains, including a 20% hit to its stock price in one day. For Morgan Stanley,” he said, “it’s a different story.”

“There are a lot of Morgan Stanley people, particularly on the legacy Smith Barney side, that are pretty unhappy right now. That discontent is coming mostly from one source: a technology conversion that has not lived up to expectations,” Willis said of his conversations with financial advisors.

“It’s the overpromise, under deliver — exactly what a financial advisor should never do with his clients — which they are receiving from the firm,” Willis said. “And there’s the daily reminder when it doesn’t work well.”

*See the full story as reported by Lorie Konish for OnWallSteet.com on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.