There continues to be speculation in recruiting circles on when Merrill Lynch will pull out of Broker Protocol. Both Merrill and Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) have projected they will remain in Protocol, for the time being, but there seems to be more conviction with WFA’s desire to stay in protocol than Merrill’s. The problem, of course, is that when, or if, Merrill decides they will exit protocol, it is very likely their advisors will only have a few days notice to do anything about it.
On November 21st we predicted UBS would be out of Protocol within the same month and by December 1st they officially were. In the same article, we wrongly predicted Merrill would pull out of Protocol in December. While the December prediction was off, we continue to think (and we know we aren’t alone) that Merrill intends to pull out of Protocol this year. It has been like watching a fire drill in slow motion this year.