Not great news for Merrill Lynch brokers.

The rumor has been around for a while. Brokers were whispering that Bank of America doesn’t want to own the Merrill Lynch salesforce any more. That the cultures are too different.

Well don’t get your hopes up, people. Bank of America has announced that it is doing away with the parent company, Merrill Lynch & Co., which the bank owns, and will make the broker-dealer, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, Inc., a direct subsidiary of the bank. OnWallStreet magazine reports that the bank is doing this, in part, to ease reporting.

The bank says it will be business as usual (which, in my view, means that the beatings will continue until morale improves) for the customers and clients. Let’s see, what was business as usual? Oh yeah, cheating (had another word there, thought better of it) brokers out of their FCAAP accounts, that was business as usual. Forcing those brokers to file lawsuits and arbitrations to get the money. That was business as usual. Letting the bank make wrong-headed firing decisions. That was business as usual.

Congratulations, Merrill Lynch brokers, the bank is now one level closer in controlling your life. Aren’t you happy?

That’s the bearish view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida. I’m Marc Dobin.

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