Amid thousands of layoffs, Bank of Ameica has announced that they are hiring 40 Financial Solutions Advisors in the Midatlantic region this week.

From Washington, DC, to Philadelphia, PA, BofA customers with higher net worth with have access to 40 more professional financial advisors at their local branches. Bank of America®’s Financial Solutions Advisors work under the Merrill Edge side of the business, what used to be Merrill Lynch’s investment service, that allows customers to invest in the markets on their own, or with the help of an FSA.

According to Merrill Edge’s website, Financial Solutions Advisors are available to customers with more than $20,000 in cash ready to invest. FSAs provide guidance, advice, and expertise to help customers meet their long- and short-term financial goals, through both banking and investing in the markets.

Bank of America® announced the change in response to research by Merrill Edge from January 2011 on the needs and fears of a group they call the “Mass Affluent”: those with $50,000 to $250,000 in investable assets. They aren’t rich by today’s standards, but they are certainly well-off. And according to the report, they’re “often underserved,” presumably in terms of access to personal financial advisors.

Bank of America® said, in their press release, that this group of Preferred customers “are among the fastest-growing segments in the financial services industry,” and that they do business with approximately 8 million such people.

According to Merrill Edge, the Mass Affluent/Preferred customers want a better way to manage their long- and short-term financial goals all in one place, but they also lack confidence, are concerned about the future, and are more risk-averse than they used to be. Considering the economic events of the recent past, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

They might need some cajoling to get their money back into the financial markets, given their recent turbulence and talks of a double-dip recession.

Though it might seem surprising that BofA is hiring and writing press releases about it while it is also laying off up to 10,000 people, this seems to be consistent with recent restructuring moves under CEO Brian Moynihan, who is focusing the business back to its commercial and investment roots by selling off foreign holdings. It could also signal that BofA believes upper-middle class people are more interested in putting money back into the financial markets, since the crash of 2008. Now, they’ll have some guidance, especially if they live in Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Southern New Jersey, and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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