Merrill Launches Account Overview Videos for Clients

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What You Need to Know

  • The new Digital Wealth Overview video tool presents another way for Merrill to differentiate its offerings from those of rivals.
  • The tool was designed to complement, not replace, the ways advisors engage with clients.
  • Enhanced Personal Wealth Summary reports are replacing the reports that clients have been receiving.

Merrill Lynch clients who would prefer to see their investment and banking details by watching a short video rather than combing through multiple PDFs, apps and screens across multiple financial services firms now have that option with the launch of the company’s Digital Wealth Overview tool.

Digital Wealth Overview is a three-minute, highly personalized, interactive video presentation that is narrated by Erica, Merrill parent company Bank of America’s virtual assistant. Merrill believes it is the first company in the wealth management industry to leverage personalized videos, it said.

With the push of a button, Merrill financial advisors can send the Digital Wealth Overview video to a client with real-time information securely, according to the company, which provided ThinkAdvisor with a demo Wednesday.

The new video tool was rolled out to clients Monday, along with Wealth Overview Personal Wealth Summary (PWS), a new report that supports comprehensive discussions between advisor and clients by combining data from all of the client’s Merrill and Bank of America accounts and also accounts held away from Merrill at other firms, the company said.

“Wealth Overview is a new way that we’re going to engage clients who are enrolled” in the firm’s fee-based, fiduciary investment advisory program (IAP), Carl Swanson, head of Advisor and Client Experience in the Investment Solutions Group at Bank of America, told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday.

A Differentiating Tool

The company developed Wealth Overview in response to feedback from advisors and clients, and presents another way for Merrill to differentiate its offerings from rivals, he said.

Wealth Overview presents clients with data from all their Merrill accounts “in a single, consolidated view” that includes investment advisory accounts, brokerage accounts and banking accounts they have with Merrill and Bank of America, along with any accounts they have at other companies that they give the company permission to include, he explained.

“This holistic view definitely supports more comprehensive discussions between advisors and clients, and presents the ability to drill deeper into asset allocation [and] holding performance of their IAP accounts so that IAP is considered in the context of the client’s overall financial picture,” he said.

PWS will “replace the portfolio summary in existing reports that we already send to clients,” such as welcome kits for new IAP clients and the report that an advisor sends to a client after an annual review is completed, he noted. The existing portfolio summary only reviewed the client’s IAP account details, he pointed out.

“Advisors will be able to create these [new] reports for clients on an ad hoc basis as they see fit throughout the year,” he said.