Just Another Reason To Avoid Big Wall Street Firms

Just Another Reason To Avoid Big Wall Street Firms

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  For all the advertising and PR big financial firms are doing to show how they are “on your side,” not much has changed over the years.  The Wall Street Journal has reported that Merrill Lynch is moving client’s money market accounts to Bank of America deposits.  Why does that matter?  Here is the explanation from the WSJ:

The giant firm thus joins many other major brokerages, including Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab Corp. , in potentially capturing more of the income on cash balances for themselves, rather than passing most of it through to clients.

Such a move has steadily become more lucrative as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

In the second quarter, with rates nearly 1 percentage point higher than they were a year earlier, brokerage firms indicated that as much as 25% of their gross profit came from what they earned off their customers’ cash.

In exchange for depositing their customers’ uninvested cash at banks—often, as in Merrill’s case, banks affiliated with the firm—brokerages receive hefty fees.

It is no coincidence that this is happening when clients are finally starting to earn some yields on their money market accounts.  The article states that the average money market rate is now up to 1.77%, while this change will drop yields to 0.25% for Merrill Lynch customers.  This is a small but glaring example of the conflicts that rampant at major Wall Street brokerage firms.  When you can make money off of the products your clients buy, you have a massive conflict.  The solution is simple and obvious- don’t allow firms that advise making money off the products they sell.  Have clients pay their advisor for advice only- period.  This is how Greenspring Advisors is set up along with other firms committed to acting in their client’s best interests.  When you remove the incentive to earn commissions on product sales or make the extra yield on money market accounts, the advisor understands who their loyalty lies with…the client.

Information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. It is not intended as the primary basis for financial planning or investment decisions and should not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor. This material has been prepared for information purposes only and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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