Advisor Development

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Build a successful career with us

Few things affect people’s lives as much as their finances. An advisor provides advice and guidance on a client’s financial situation in a variety of areas, going above and beyond portfolios and investment strategies. An advisor at Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank considers the client’s life, goals and financial picture, and then guides them with advice and solutions to help them live their best financial lives.


Whether or not you have a financial background, you have the ability to launch a successful career as an advisor. Diverse backgrounds, thoughts and work experiences are valued for this opportunity.


Becoming an impactful advisor does not happen overnight. You will benefit from award-winning training through The Academy, as well as avenues and resources to grow your career, receiving support through:


  • State of the art curriculum with tailored courses
  • Personalized coaching with a dedicated Academy Manager
  • Active learning through practice activities, role plays, job shadowing, and virtual reality tools 
  • Knowledgeable mentors with relevant experience
  • Dedicated paid time while studying for securities licensing exams for applicable roles


We support over 3,000 advisors annually in pursuing their securities licenses, through the largest licensing program in the industry. A team will help you as you pursue the Securities Industries Essentials (SIE), Series 7 and Series 66 exams, all of which are required to provide investment advice to clients. The Academy is committed to your success and willing to help you every step along the way!

Learn more about advisor career paths 

A career as an advisor starts with a strong foundation. The advisor development career path is designed to help you develop your skills and grow your career.

There are many ways to become an advisor and progress your career with Bank of America and Merrill.

Advisor Roles

Relationship Manager

Bank of America

  • Work in a Bank of America Financial Center
  • Help clients with their life priorities, focusing on banking solutions
  • Not an advisor role, experience provides associate with opportunity to grow career towards advisor path

Candidate Profile:

  • New to industry
  • Unlicensed
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Financial Solutions Advisor

Merrill, Consumer Investments

  • Work in a Bank of America Financial Center, Contact Center or Merrill office
  • Help clients with their life priorities, focusing on banking and investment needs

Candidate Profile:

  • Industry experience
  • Unlicensed or licensed
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Financial Advisor Development Program


  • Work in a Merrill office
  • Build a wealth management practice
  • Help clients plan for and achieve their unique financial goals, providing them with advice and service, including investment management and access to banking, credit, and lending

Candidate Profile:

  • Industry experience
  • Unlicensed or licensed 
  • Strong interpersonal skills & entrepreneurial drive

Private Client Advisor

Bank of America Private Bank

  • Work in a Private Bank Office
  • Build a private wealth management practice
  • Help clients protect their wealth for generations to come, providing them with complete investment and wealth management solutions through highly personalized team-based service

Candidate Profile:

  • Industry experience
  • Licensed
  • Strong interpersonal skills & entrepreneurial drive
Paula Sabbagha

Paula Sabbagha

Paula Sabbagha is a recent graduate of our 36-month Financial Advisor Development Program through Merrill. She excelled at the rigorous training and extensive coursework, and found the seminars and talks from seasoned, successful Financial Advisors to be the most impactful for her learning. On-the-job training and learning through live examples were also invaluable. “Something came up every day that I didn't know – and the resources were there for us to learn…for me that’s the best way to learn. I go through experiencing something that I don’t know how to do, I look it up, and then I do it.


Education is very important to Paula both professionally and personally. Paula grew up watching her mother struggle with various financial aspects like healthcare, taxes, and homeownership while raising three small children. Her mother’s perseverance has resonated with Paula throughout her career, and through her journey to becoming a Financial Advisor she has continually seen the importance for women to be able to close the knowledge gap around finance. Because of this, Paula hosts a monthly seminar for women to learn about important financial topics, at times speaking to these topics herself and other times bringing in experts and specialists in the field. For Paula, the seminars are a natural extension of her role as a Financial Advisor because they help women live better financial lives. “At some point, we all have to make these tough financial decisions.” Paula is helping make these tough decisions a little easier.