After several updates to its digital workstation that have helped advisors work more efficiently from home during the pandemic, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is now aiming to bring representatives back to the field.
The wirehouse has a new mobile app that advisors can use to access all the information they need about their clients or their practices on their company-appointed iPhones or iPads. Just as the design of its new customer engagement workstation was rented to recreate the experience of a web browser, the new mobile is designed to resemble the mobile apps that advisors use in their daily lives.
The app, which Merrill calls the Mobile Advisor Experience, or MAX, has two main goals, said Mike Lestina, director of mobile and collaboration strategy at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The first is to integrate the information and functionality of the AI into a native mobile app rather than forcing advisers to access a reduced version on their phone’s web browser. Second, Merrill wanted a single app that could bring together many of the various tools used by advisors.
The company is rolling out the app to its 19,400 advisors this week.
“We learned to work from home; it allows us to be mobile again, ”said Lestina.
The MAX dashboard contains high-level information relevant to each advisor, including new accounts pending approval, a calendar, and upcoming events such as client birthdays or notices. Advisors can customize the dashboard layout according to their preferences.
A series of tabs mimic the desktop AI, allowing advisors to access financial information such as holdings, asset allocation, and performance. MAX will also display practice management information such as advisor productivity, growth grid, and progress toward internal company incentives.
The app integrates with Salesforce to allow advisors to create customer notes, assign tasks, create new events, or see if the customer has been in contact with other Bank of America branches. If they applied for a loan, it could create an opportunity for the adviser, Lestina said.
The other apps used by Merrill advisers (Blackberry Work, Factset, Socialize, Copytalk and Notate) all power various functions with MAX. If advisers need to do more than MAX supports, a single click will automatically move them to this app.
“Advisors have this as a central hub to do just about everything,” said Kabir Sethi, the company’s head of digital wealth management. While CEW was designed to be accessible on a tablet, MAX will allow advisors to take a customer call while seated in the car and have everything they need available. “They couldn’t have done it until they got to the office.”
MAX builds on the company’s “Erica” digital assistant, laying the foundation for future voice control functionality, Sethi added.
“There is a lot of room to improve the advisor experience and further personalize,” he said.