As previously reported, during the height of the meltdown on Wall Street, Bank of America negotiated a deal to acquire Merrill Lynch. While this was but one of many buyouts, bailouts and washouts that occurred during that period, the adverse effect on former Merrill Lynch employees, and specifically financial advisors, is still important today.
Financial Advisors who worked for Merrill Lynch participated in several deferred compensation plans, including plans with names like FACAAP, Growth Award, WealthBuilder, and other Long Term Compensation Incentive Programs (LTCIPs). The Advisors worked hard to accumulate benefits in the LTCIPs with the expectation that Merrill Lynch and its successors would honor their obligations under the plans. Most folks would say that was a most reasonable expectation. Unfortunately, those obligations have not been honored by Bank of America.
Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch triggered what was defined as a “Change in Control” within the LTCIPs. According to plain language in the plans, that event affected the vesting of deferred compensation so that any participating broker who resigned for “Good Reason” following the buyout was due to be paid the deferred compensation they worked so hard to build up. However, this didn’t happen, resulting in thousands of former Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors being owed millions of dollars in unpaid benefits.
Our firm is currently investigating potential claims on behalf of former Merrill Lynch brokers against Bank of America. These former employees often left the company either because of the changes that occurred or in some cases because they were pressured or pushed out by the incoming management. In either case, they were wrongfully denied deferred compensation to which they were entitled. That entitlement continues to this day. During these tough economic times, it’s a sad commentary that any hard working person must fight huge corporations for what is rightfully due to them. Our firm is available to help those former Merrill Lynch employees win their fight against Bank of America. We have already been contacted by several. If you have any questions on this matter, or need help, contact Chad Stewart at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chad.Stewart@beasleyallen.com.
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