[Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
Post Reply
Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

[Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:55 am

Long story short, I just discovered that Merrill Lynch has been charging my elderly father nearly $500 a month in advisory fees for an unmanaged CMA account that averages 1-2 transactions a month.

My father had the same financial advisor for over 25 years. He was with a different institution when my father met him and eventually ended up at Merrill Lynch. Him and my father were good friends and used to talk on a daily basis. Unfortunately, he passed away about 2 years ago, and my father's account went to another advisor on the team. During a recent discussion with my father about investing, he mentioned how he was unhappy with his new "advisor" because there was practically zero correspondence between them and he didn't understand why his fees were so high.

My father has 2 investment accounts in addition to multiple IRAs and and an annuity account with them. The investment accounts are an actively managed TOD account and a non-managed CMA account. Upon reviewing the CMA account, I was shocked to see he was being charged over $450 a month in fees and there were literally ZERO transactions over the last year than weren't ordered directly by my father. (For some reason, I had thought they were periodically reviewing that account and tweaking it for him.) According to my father, he hasn't received so much as a single phone call from this advisor over the last year unless it was just him returning a call, and sometimes he didn't even do that. Suffice to say, I convinced my father to switch his account ASAP.

For the record, my father (75) is old-school and a little out of touch with the times. He doesn't use the internet, and he tends to be far too trusting of people and takes things that he's told for granted. I was absolutely livid when I saw how much he's been paying. He only had 1-3 transactions a month (0 on some months) over the last year. Meaning his fees would have been 0-$15 (using industy average) a month if he was simply paying per transaction.

So I guess my question is.. shouldn't there have been some kind of fiduciary responsibility on their part to at least suggest to my father to switch that account to a per-transaction based account?? Or are financial advisors completely absolved of anything like that?

Nissanzx1
Posts: 604
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:13 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Nissanzx1 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:49 am

I can almost guarantee whatever Dad signed allowed them to do what they did. It truly is shark infested waters... I’m so sorry, that’s insane and would make me furious...

Gardener
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Gardener » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:22 am

I would call and ask to speak to or set up an in person meeting with that advisor's supervisor to see if they can make this right.

And if they did not fix it,, I would let Merrill Lynch know that unless they fix it, ie reimburse you for those egregious fees, you would be plastering this same information on BBB, every review site that exists, every investing forum like this one.

dkturner
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:58 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by dkturner » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:04 am

Nissanzx1 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:49 am
I can almost guarantee whatever Dad signed allowed them to do what they did. It truly is shark infested waters... I’m so sorry, that’s insane and would make me furious...
Brokerage firms have been transitioning from charging commissions for transactions to asset based fees for quite some time. If the ML broker will talk with you about you father’s account (he really shouldn’t unless he has your father’s permission) he will probably show you the document your father signed converting his brokerage account to the newer asset based fee structure.

jello_nailer
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:20 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by jello_nailer » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:20 am

Similar scenario with my FIL account. And don't get me started about the tax avoidance allocation strategy at the expense of growth in the name of "safety". It's cost them, and the estate, 7 figures in performance.

The cherry on the pile of poop was when I found they years ago sold my wife 2 funds for her IRA with 5+ percent front loads - how do you think they performed? You guessed it, barely half the SPY and that's not even load adjusted.

I'm forced to open a Merrill EDGE account because their the firm that handles our company's ISO conversions. I just hold my nose and do it.

User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 9087
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:53 am

Given his "advance age" (yes, DH is the same, but that IS "elderly" and *can* have diminished faculties), I'd speak with a branch manager or some more senior person, and gently mumble your concern about "ongoing elder financial fraud/abuse".

I think most of those places are becoming *very* sensitive to that nowadays.
It's worth a try.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

JoeRetire
Posts: 2807
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:57 am

MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:55 am
So I guess my question is.. shouldn't there have been some kind of fiduciary responsibility on their part to at least suggest to my father to switch that account to a per-transaction based account?? Or are financial advisors completely absolved of anything like that?
When you work with an adviser that doesn't claim to be a fiduciary, it's hard to go back in time and claim there should have been some kind of fiduciary responsibility on their part.

Other than the personal phone calls from his adviser friend, I'm guessing nothing at all changed over the past 25 years. ML was likely charging the same rate with the same amount of work.

Either way, when your dad's friend died 2 years ago, either he was given some paperwork to sign at that time authorizing the transfer to a new adviser, or he had already signed an agreement authorizing that action.

User avatar
Ricchan
Posts: 135
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:26 am
Location: Firestone D Floor

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Ricchan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:14 am

jello_nailer wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:20 am
I'm forced to open a Merrill EDGE account because their the firm that handles our company's ISO conversions. I just hold my nose and do it.
I was lucky enough to come across Malkiel's "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" which led me to these forums back when my family was looking at options for managing a trust fund. We ended up sitting in on multiple meetings with different Merrill advisors, and thankfully we did not pursue any of them further.

When Bank of America introduced their Merrill Edge platform, I was immediately suspicious. But after using it for a few years, I've realized it's basically just another DIY brokerage, despite its name. I know it's not easy to disassociate the Merrill name from the Merrill Edge product, but I've come to peace with it, much like I've come to peace with using Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) despite it being a large reason for the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008 and requiring a subsequent government bailout.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 1248
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:28 am

There is water under the bridge here. Right now you should be on the same page as your father and get out of the arrangement. No need for more water flowing downstream to this FA. Get paperwork on the AUM and begin a transfer. Recently discussed here about using Vanguard or Fidelity to assist in the move. Not that hard to do.
Begin now.

HomeStretch
Posts: 1197
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:38 am

If your dad wants your help with the transition and/or ongoing investments management, file a power of attorney with the new brokerage to allow you to do this. As POA, you can setup an online account.

Best of luck!

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2709
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by beyou » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:46 am

I doubt any legal agreement in place was specific to the advisor who passed away, and instead was an agreement with ML generally.

I agree with the comments, just focus on the future. Do not waste your time fighting past bad decisions. The question going forward is how to handle things for a person who clearly wanted a paid advisor rather than DIY. Debating M Edge is pointless (or Vanguard etc) until you either take over handling things, teach him how (if able/willing) or accept he wants and is willing to pay for an advisor. Seems either DIY or advisor solution both require exploring a new acct, but the general approach is step 1, specific solution is step 2.

I have a 90+ in-law who was being overcharged and owned inappropriate investments, managed by another family member who briefly dabbled being a broker during a boom. As soon as he was fired by his employer, I stepped in, moved the acct to index funds at Vanguard. Had to periodically tell this person to ignore lies from the many sharks who tried to tempt back to a high priced “no fee” solution that “will outperform indexing”. After a while of refusing to talk to every salesperson who made this in-law a pitch, and instead showing the in-law what is being done on Vanguard, eventually the temptations stopped. Not easy to convince some folks to change, especially with their savings, and especially when you are not willing to lie and tell them what they want to hear.

arf30
Posts: 530
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:55 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by arf30 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:55 am

There's no point in talking to anyone at Merrill - go talk to a low cost brokerage {Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard} and have them initiate an asset transfer out of there and you're done.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2601
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:12 am

Upon reviewing the CMA account, I was shocked to see he was being charged over $450 a month in fees and there were literally ZERO transactions over the last year than weren't ordered directly by my father. (For some reason, I had thought they were periodically reviewing that account and tweaking it for him.)
So he has a self-managed account with an advisor. That sounds better than having a managed account with churning. Tweaking is not usually a good thing.
I was absolutely livid when I saw how much he's been paying. He only had 1-3 transactions a month (0 on some months) over the last year. Meaning his fees would have been 0-$15 (using industy average) a month if he was simply paying per transaction.
1-3 transactions/month sounds like too many. And there are fees other than transaction fees - front loads, back loads, high ERs, 12b-1. He may be paying less in fees now and getting more visibility into what he is paying.
So I guess my question is.. shouldn't there have been some kind of fiduciary responsibility on their part to at least suggest to my father to switch that account to a per-transaction based account?? Or are financial advisors completely absolved of anything like that
The fiduciary rule proposed by the labor department and later reversed encouraged fiduciaries to avoid charging commissions per transaction, because that encourages churning, which is generally a bad thing.

Thieves is a pretty harsh word, and not the right one here. Your father signed up for services, it was and is up to him to decide what services he wants. I make very few transactions in my accounts, and don't tweak things at all. But that is because I'm the one that decided what should be in the accounts. Your dad needs to either decide to let someone else manage his accounts, and pay them to do it, or decide to manage his accounts himself, and pay attention and take responsibility. He might want your help, or might not.

bsteiner
Posts: 4204
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:39 pm
Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by bsteiner » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:23 am

While there may be reasons for them, the TOD and annuity are likely to be the more costly items.

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:31 am

dkturner wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:04 am
If the ML broker will talk with you about you father’s account (he really shouldn’t unless he has your father’s permission) he will probably show you the document your father signed converting his brokerage account to the newer asset based fee structure.
The broker shouldn't and probably will not talk to you about your father's account, and that includes showing you any documents related to your father's account. Should it be any other way? Would you want your broker showing your account information to another family member who called and complained about your account?

User avatar
Stinky
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:38 am
Location: Sweet Home Alabama

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Stinky » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:41 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:53 am
Given his "advance age" (yes, DH is the same, but that IS "elderly" and *can* have diminished faculties), I'd speak with a branch manager or some more senior person, and gently mumble your concern about "ongoing elder financial fraud/abuse".

I think most of those places are becoming *very* sensitive to that nowadays.
It's worth a try.

RM
I agree. Talking to ML can't hurt (except for the increase in your blood pressure when you're in the meeting), and might help.

And it sounds like the money has already left ML. That's a necessary move.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:46 am

MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:55 am
So I guess my question is.. shouldn't there have been some kind of fiduciary responsibility on their part to at least suggest to my father to switch that account to a per-transaction based account??
I don't think that there is such a responsibility. As suggested above, I think they are encouraged to do the opposite.

Did your father ask for your help? Is he of sound mind?

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:41 am

bsteiner wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:23 am
While there may be reasons for them, the TOD and annuity are likely to be the more costly items.
I'm talking specifically about the CMA account. The fees I mentioned don't include what he pays on the other accounts.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:50 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:12 am
So he has a self-managed account with an advisor. That sounds better than having a managed account with churning. Tweaking is not usually a good thing.

An advisor who he never hears from and is not advising him in the least.

1-3 transactions/month sounds like too many. And there are fees other than transaction fees - front loads, back loads, high ERs, 12b-1. He may be paying less in fees now and getting more visibility into what he is paying.
The portfolio is mostly stocks. Not a lot of mutual funds, ETFs, etc. How would he possibly be paying less in fees now?

Thieves is a pretty harsh word, and not the right one here. Your father signed up for services, it was and is up to him to decide what services he wants. I make very few transactions in my accounts, and don't tweak things at all. But that is because I'm the one that decided what should be in the accounts. Your dad needs to either decide to let someone else manage his accounts, and pay them to do it, or decide to manage his accounts himself, and pay attention and take responsibility. He might want your help, or might not.
Imo, he's probably paying as much as if the account was being actively managed. I don't think thieves is too far off here, but you're entitled to your opinion.
Last edited by MakingBacon on Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:54 am

This forum has a different method of formatting quoted posts than what I'm used to. Not sure what I did wrong there...
Last edited by MakingBacon on Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:56 am

Gardener wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:22 am
I would call and ask to speak to or set up an in person meeting with that advisor's supervisor to see if they can make this right.

And if they did not fix it,, I would let Merrill Lynch know that unless they fix it, ie reimburse you for those egregious fees, you would be plastering this same information on BBB, every review site that exists, every investing forum like this one.
Let's be realistic though. What are the odds of any broker ever doing that?

aristotelian
Posts: 5935
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by aristotelian » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:23 am

If the account was $50K or more, that would be a pretty typical AUM fee. I would guess that he signed up for the service, never used it, but was automatically charged the AUM fee and nobody caught it. That hardly makes them thieves.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:53 am

aristotelian wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:23 am
If the account was $50K or more, that would be a pretty typical AUM fee. I would guess that he signed up for the service, never used it, but was automatically charged the AUM fee and nobody caught it. That hardly makes them thieves.
$50K? You're kidding, right? Did you mean 500k? Who would pay that much in monthly fees for an account that was anywhere near 50k? That would be highway robbery.

Gardener
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Gardener » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:00 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:56 am
Gardener wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:22 am
I would call and ask to speak to or set up an in person meeting with that advisor's supervisor to see if they can make this right.

And if they did not fix it,, I would let Merrill Lynch know that unless they fix it, ie reimburse you for those egregious fees, you would be plastering this same information on BBB, every review site that exists, every investing forum like this one.
Let's be realistic though. What are the odds of any broker ever doing that?
I don't know.

But, what does OP have to lose?

$~500 x 12 months = $6k. What if they agreed to give $3k back? Would that be an impossible outcome? I think its very possible. Something like this would easily cost them more than $3k in business with negative reviews, BBB complaints, etc.

User avatar
BL
Posts: 9073
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by BL » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:40 pm

$450/month on how much AUM? Number of transactions means nothing; the lower the better if they are just messing with them.

I suggest you find out what Vanguard PAS would do for him. You would get a known portfolio, known costs (0.3% of AUM/year), very low-cost (low-ER) funds and no taking advantage of him with expensive funds or insurance products. Contact would be by phone, etc., so no hand-shake or friendly smile or coffee. If he needs to shake hands, then he risks paying much more.

Putting all in a 3-fund portfolio or a Life Strategy fund, Balanced fund, Target Income fund, or Wellesley/Wellington funds would be fine, but I expect he would not be satisfied doing nothing and seeing nothing going on with nobody to talk to.

aristotelian
Posts: 5935
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by aristotelian » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:40 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:53 am
aristotelian wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:23 am
If the account was $50K or more, that would be a pretty typical AUM fee. I would guess that he signed up for the service, never used it, but was automatically charged the AUM fee and nobody caught it. That hardly makes them thieves.
$50K? You're kidding, right? Did you mean 500k? Who would pay that much in monthly fees for an account that was anywhere near 50k? That would be highway robbery.
Ah, my mistake. Yes, should be $500K.

garlandwhizzer
Posts: 2393
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by garlandwhizzer » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:52 pm

I think this example raises a big issue for those of us who are retired seniors living off our assets. Who can we trust in financial matters not to take advantage of us if and when we get cognitive decline? There are cases in which even family members or relatives took advantage not to mention brokers, financial advisors, and others in the industry lining their own pockets at the expense of the vulnerable elderly. Although I am not a fan of annuities, this is one argument for a SPIA whose purchase IMO should be delayed as long as long as possible while still mentally competent. Deferring purchase as long as possible reduces the potential negative effects of cumulative inflation over the shorter payout period and at the same time increases monthly payout with a reliable income stream. Inflation adjusted annuities also work but their payouts tend to be considerably lower unless inflation takes off which most view as highly unlikely in the near/intermediate term.

Garland Whizzer

barnaclebob
Posts: 3778
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:05 pm

Gardener wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:00 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:56 am
Gardener wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:22 am
I would call and ask to speak to or set up an in person meeting with that advisor's supervisor to see if they can make this right.

And if they did not fix it,, I would let Merrill Lynch know that unless they fix it, ie reimburse you for those egregious fees, you would be plastering this same information on BBB, every review site that exists, every investing forum like this one.
Let's be realistic though. What are the odds of any broker ever doing that?
I don't know.

But, what does OP have to lose?

$~500 x 12 months = $6k. What if they agreed to give $3k back? Would that be an impossible outcome? I think its very possible. Something like this would easily cost them more than $3k in business with negative reviews, BBB complaints, etc.
ML has thousands of reviews online, many of them negative. Another bad review is a drop in the bucket. There is zero chance of them reimbursing the fees unless OP's dads account is large enough that other fees will make up the refund in a short time. You'd probably have to get up 3 or 4 levels of management to actually talk with someone with the authority to even make a refund like that.

Gardener
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by Gardener » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:13 pm

@ op and barnaclebob

Yes, you are probably right.

Just did the math. Op is paying just a little over 1% in fees on aum. Outrageous to indexers, but about the industry norm for everyone else...

bsteiner
Posts: 4204
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:39 pm
Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by bsteiner » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:15 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:41 am
bsteiner wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:23 am
While there may be reasons for them, the TOD and annuity are likely to be the more costly items.
I'm talking specifically about the CMA account. The fees I mentioned don't include what he pays on the other accounts.
I meant the expenses and tax costs of the annuity and the possible estate planning disadvantages of a TOD designation. These things are likely to be more costly than the management fees.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 55907
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:50 pm

FYI - I changed the title of the thread and replies. Regardless of your opinion of a company, please address them in a respectful manner.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:46 am

LadyGeek wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:50 pm
FYI - I changed the title of the thread and replies. Regardless of your opinion of a company, please address them in a respectful manner.
I didn't title it "Merrill Lynch = Thieves?" because they have high fees. I used that title because they're charging for something they're NOT providing. There's a significant difference.

I also posed it as a question not a statement.

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:52 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:46 am
I didn't title it "Merrill Lynch = Thieves?" because they have high fees. I used that title because they're charging for something they're NOT providing. There's a significant difference.
What service did they charge for that they did not provide?

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:14 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:52 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:46 am
I didn't title it "Merrill Lynch = Thieves?" because they have high fees. I used that title because they're charging for something they're NOT providing. There's a significant difference.
What service did they charge for that they did not provide?
Advisory fees. He's received zero professional advisory services for at least the past year.

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:20 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:14 pm
Advisory fees. He's received zero professional advisory services for at least the past year.
I suspect there is more to the story. I am willing to bet that your father's agreement with Merrill refers to more than "advisory fees." In my experience, agreements with brokers and other large financial institutions involve more than just two words, there are usually many, many words, often many paragraphs and several pages, and lots of so called "legalese" that is written in a way that is favorable to the company that wrote the agreement. My point is if you look at the actual agreement, and not just a two word synopsis of the agreement that you characterize as advisory services, you may find that Merrill did enough to satisfy the terms of the agreement and to justify the charges.

For example, (and this is just me speculating) the agreement may provide that your father has access to one on one telephone consultations with a financial advisor at any time. So whether your father took advantage of that would not change the fact that he was paying for access to that as part of the benefit he received, sort of like paying for a AAA membership even if you never use it.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:20 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:14 pm
Advisory fees. He's received zero professional advisory services for at least the past year.
I suspect there is more to the story. I am willing to bet that your father's agreement with Merrill refers to more than "advisory fees." In my experience, agreements with brokers and other large financial institutions involve more than just two words, there are usually many, many words, often many paragraphs and several pages, and lots of so called "legalese" that is written in a way that is favorable to the company that wrote the agreement. My point is if you look at the actual agreement, and not just a two word synopsis of the agreement that you characterize as advisory services, you may find that Merrill did enough to satisfy the terms of the agreement and to justify the charges.
From a legal standpoint, you may very well be right. It doesn't change the fact that they've done nothing whatsoever to earn those fees ever since the account changed hands.

Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees. I'm probably going to go a step further and transfer everything in it to a Merrill Edge account.

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:31 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
From a legal standpoint, you may very well be right. It doesn't change the fact that they've done nothing whatsoever to earn those fees ever since the account changed hands.
But it does mean that you should not refer to them as thieves.

mptfan
Posts: 5347
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by mptfan » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:34 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees.
Be careful what you wish for...they may start to churn the account to generate transaction based fees.

User avatar
BL
Posts: 9073
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by BL » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:49 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
mptfan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:20 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:14 pm
Advisory fees. He's received zero professional advisory services for at least the past year.
I suspect there is more to the story. I am willing to bet that your father's agreement with Merrill refers to more than "advisory fees." In my experience, agreements with brokers and other large financial institutions involve more than just two words, there are usually many, many words, often many paragraphs and several pages, and lots of so called "legalese" that is written in a way that is favorable to the company that wrote the agreement. My point is if you look at the actual agreement, and not just a two word synopsis of the agreement that you characterize as advisory services, you may find that Merrill did enough to satisfy the terms of the agreement and to justify the charges.
From a legal standpoint, you may very well be right. It doesn't change the fact that they've done nothing whatsoever to earn those fees ever since the account changed hands.

Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees. I'm probably going to go a step further and transfer everything in it to a Merrill Edge account.
Definitely transfer out of ML. ME should get you away from the "advisors".

User avatar
dogagility
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:41 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by dogagility » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:03 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees. I'm probably going to go a step further and transfer everything in it to a Merrill Edge account.
Good idea. I would go a step further as well, if your family wants to stay with Merrill. Open a Bank of America checking account and then sign up for Preferred Rewards.
Taking "risk" since 1995.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:10 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:31 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
From a legal standpoint, you may very well be right. It doesn't change the fact that they've done nothing whatsoever to earn those fees ever since the account changed hands.
But it does mean that you should not refer to them as thieves.
Thank you for your opinion.
Last edited by MakingBacon on Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:12 pm

mptfan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:34 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees.
Be careful what you wish for...they may start to churn the account to generate transaction based fees.
I don't believe they have the power to initiate transactions on their own in that account.

Topic Author
MakingBacon
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:15 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by MakingBacon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:16 pm

dogagility wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:03 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees. I'm probably going to go a step further and transfer everything in it to a Merrill Edge account.
Good idea. I would go a step further as well, if your family wants to stay with Merrill. Open a Bank of America checking account and then sign up for Preferred Rewards.
My father and I both already have accounts with BoA. To be honest though, I'm not a big fan of them either.

User avatar
dogagility
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:41 am

Re: [Merrill Lynch charges high fees]

Post by dogagility » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:21 pm

MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:16 pm
dogagility wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:03 pm
MakingBacon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Anyways, we changed the account today to per-transaction based fees. I'm probably going to go a step further and transfer everything in it to a Merrill Edge account.
Good idea. I would go a step further as well, if your family wants to stay with Merrill. Open a Bank of America checking account and then sign up for Preferred Rewards.
My father and I both already have accounts with BoA. To be honest though, I'm not a big fan of them either.
Neither was I... until I learned of the benefits associated with having a Premium Rewards credit card and having Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors status.
Taking "risk" since 1995.

Post Reply