Merrill Lynch launches new mobile app to get advisors back in the field – Financial Planning

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2021-09-29 19:40:04 – Ryan W. Neal

Merrill Lynch launches new mobile app to get advisors back in the field

By Ryan W. Neal September 29, 2021, 3:40 p.m. EDT 2 Min Read
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After several updates to its digital workstation that helped advisors work more effectively from home during the pandemic, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is now setting its sights on getting representatives back into the field.

The wirehouse has a new mobile app advisors can use to access any information they need relating to their clients or their practices on their company-appointed iPhones or iPads. Just as the design of its new Client Engagement Workstation was praised for recreating the experience of a web browser, the new mobile is designed to look and feel like the mobile apps advisors use in their day-to-day lives.

The app, which Merrill is calling the mobile advisor experience, or MAX, serves two primary purposes, said Mike Lestina, director of mobile and collaboration strategy at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The first is to bring the information and functionality from CEW into a mobile native app rather than force advisors to access a scaled-down version on their phone’s web browser. Second, Merrill wanted a single app that could bring together several of the various tools that advisors use.

The firm is rolling out the app to its 19,400 advisors this week.

“We’ve learned how to work from home; this allows us to be mobile again,” Lestina said.

The MAX dashboard contains top-level information relevant to each advisor, including new accounts awaiting approval, a calendar and upcoming events such as client birthdays or reviews. Advisors can customize the layout of the dashboard to their preferences.

A series of tabs mimics the desktop CEW, letting advisors tap to dive into financial information such as holdings, asset allocation and performance. MAX will also show practice management information such as the advisor’s productivity, growth grid and progress toward internal corporate incentives.

The app integrates with Salesforce to let advisors create client notes, assign tasks, create new events or see if the client has been in contact with other branches at Bank of America. If they reached out about a loan, it could create an opportunity for the advisor, Lestina said.

Other apps Merrill advisors use — Blackberry Work, Factset, Socialize, Copytalk and Notate — all power various functions with MAX. If advisors need to do more than what MAX supports, a single tap will automatically move them over to that app.

“Advisors have this as the central hub to do pretty much everything,” said Kabir Sethi, the firm’s head of digital wealth management. While CEW was designed to be accessible on a tablet, MAX will let advisors take a client call while sitting in the car and have everything they need available. “They wouldn’t have been able to do that until they were in the office.”

MAX leverages the firm’s “Erica” digital assistant, laying a foundation for future voice command functionality, Sethi added.

“There’s a lot of room to improve the experience for advisors and personalize more,” he said.

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