Successful Teaming wins PMD $300M Account
Matt Raney is currently a Financial Advisor Trainee in the Practice Management Development (PMD) program in Fairfield, Connecticut training to be a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor (FA). Like many other PMDs, Matt brings years of experience to the table, including a stint in the late 90s at Merrill Lynch as a registered client associate. When Matt entered the PMD program in January 2009, he began prospecting immediately and happened to meet a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) at a social function with approximately $250 million in assets under management. The RIA knew that at its size, it wasn't large enough to get institutional coverage but with the prospects of $30 million bond purchases, it wasn't a fit with the retail side either.
The Teaming Process
Matt's prior knowledge of classic Middle Markets capabilities led him to believe that there were not any avenues open to the prospect and their specific needs, but he reached out to his Resident Director, Gina Douvas, and was surprised by what she told him. She knew the perfect man for him to reach out to as a strategic partner, Financial Advisor Richard Neuman, who she had gotten to know when she worked as Sales Manager in the Stamford, CT office where Richard is based. Richard, who has been with Merrill Lynch for 29 years, has extensive experience working in the Middle Markets space and has access to traders and certain platforms not readily available to other FAs. Richard began his career at Merrill Lynch on the Private Client side but became one of the anchor tenants in the Middle Markets group after its creation. Matt reached out to Richard to discuss the prospect and immediately knew he'd be a perfect fit to help win the business. "I bring to the table experience in a number of areas, but institutional Middle Markets isn't one of them, which made partnering with Richard a necessity'" says Matt.
Crafting a Solution
Matt arranged for a conference call with Richard and the RIA and within the first few minutes Richard was able to determine exactly what the prospect wanted and what they were looking for from a support perspective. The RIA was clearing its business through a competitor and only had access to bonds through that firm. Because the competitor is not an underwriter for municipal bonds, the RIA didn't have access to the new issue market, which was a problem for the RIA's client base who was seeking tax-exempt municipal bonds. As one of the largest issuers of municipal bonds in the country, Merrill Lynch has the ability to give the RIA access to the primary municipal bonds market at the institutional level, which is exactly what the prospect was seeking. The prospect was especially impressed with the caliber of BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research and wanted access to the Merrill Lynch platform. Thirty minutes into the call, the prospect was ready to get the paperwork started. "Richard is a pro," says Matt, "When dealing with any institution at such a high level, it's rarely such a quick close, but in this instance, Richard's experience put Merrill Lynch over the top. He was extremely efficient at getting the account opened up and getting the RIA access to the Merrill Lynch system." The account was up and running within one month.
The Winning Edge
The client, not necessarily fitting the definition of either an institutional or retail client, would not have access to Merrill Lynch's new bond issuances or its research without Richard's involvement. "Richard's experience in the Middle Markets space was integral to winning this account," says Matt, "As was his ability to execute transactions for the client, especially in a Delivery versus Payment (DVP) account." Matt and Richard still work closely together with the client. Since the deal closed, the RIA has grown and now has $300 million in assets under management and could potentially start clearing its business through Merrill Lynch, which would be another great win. Richard has gone above and beyond by helping the RIA review the portfolios of prospective clients, which recently helped them win a large client. He also keeps the client informed by alerting them to the firm's new bond issuances and sending them BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research's latest research on the municipal bond market. "I provide the customer alternative ideas, such as taxable corporate bonds, and give them access to our research," says Richard, "In this case, things really worked out." Matt is currently pursuing other RIA prospects and hopes to repeat this success by partnering with Richard again in the future.
For Financial Professional Use Only – Not For Distribution to the Public
This case study summarizes a specific transaction. It does not represent the experience of every client or Financial Advisor and does not indicate future performance or success. Solutions presented are not appropriate for everyone. Financial Advisors should review terms, risks and conditions of specific products or services with their client.