The Academy for Advisor Development

The Academy for Advisor Development

The Academy for Advisor Development provides advisors across Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank the skills to help clients realize the potential in their lives. The Academy matches aspiring and current financial advisor applicants with the right mix of coursework and on-the-job training to ensure success.

Whether you’re starting out in your career, looking to transition into financial services, or a seasoned advisor, our Advisor Development offering is designed to support and nurture your growth so you can make a difference in the lives of our clients. You chose to pursue a career helping others pursue financial goals, and we’re here to help make it happen.

Building a successful career with us

Advisor Development is our holistic approach to the way we hire, train and develop the advisors across Bank of America and Merrill. It supports financial advisors at all levels of career experience, providing an entry point into the organization and the resources to grow. 

advisor

Professionals looking at an Advisor career are passionate about excellence, willing to go beyond portfolios and strategies. They enjoy what they do, fully immersing themselves and putting the client first in seeking to deliver success with their financial goals.

At its core, Advisor Development is a structured curriculum with a high-touch training approach for all of our financial advisors. We provide banking, lending and wealth management products & services, building upon the skills of previous stages of professional development. By incorporating in-role development, mentorship, online and in-person courses and real-time feedback, we progressively develop advisors.

Advisor Development is a rigorous set of offerings designed to ensure your success as a financial advisor; yet a common misconception we hear is that you must come from a financial services background in order to be successful in an advisor role. Rather than solely look at background, we look for people with the right combination of characteristics and qualities. Some of the personality traits that are key indicators of success in our programs:

Motivation. A desire to take initiative with a focus on doing what is best for our clients.
Sociable. A natural ease engaging and building relationships with current and prospective clients.
Enthusiasm. A genuine interest in our business and our purpose to help make financial lives better.
Resiliency. Not giving up when told no or told something cannot be done. 
Confident, while humble. A core belief in yourself and your abilities, without brashness or bravado.

If this sounds like you, we'd like to talk to you.

What you can expect from Advisor Development

Our programs are designed for professionals passionate about doing what’s right for the client. We will teach you key aspects of the advisor role while simultaneously offering on-the-job training and exposure to put your learning into action. The role of an advisor involves getting personal with clients about their financial needs and goals; the more exposure you have to this during your training, the more your work builds and grows. Participants in our programs continue to tell us about the value of client exposure and on-the-job training, so we ensure all of our advisor development offerings focus on this as much as possible.

In addition to on-the-job training and client exposure, you can also expect to develop close relationships with your peers in training, your mentors, and senior associates that you meet along the way. You will learn from industry leaders with decades of experience, and you will connect with your peers over week-long seminars and late-night studying. Everyone in our organization is committed to your success and willing to help you every step along the way.

Mohammad Juwel

Mohammad

Mohammad Juwel is a financial services advisor at one of our Manhattan locations. He’s a valuable resource to our clients, working to understand their full financial picture and helping them achieve what they care about most.

Early on in his career, Mohammad connected with a mentor at a local branch in his hometown who talked to him about what it takes to break in to the industry. "I’ve always had a little bit of a passion for investments, I’ve always liked market related stuff anyway, and he said to me: "There’s no single path to become an financial solutions advisor, but Merrill is an amazing place to work. So if you come here, you work hard and you’re hungry and you prove yourself, I’m positive they’ll notice and they’ll definitely help you.” Those words of wisdom proved to be sound advice as he began his career journey.

As a people person, Mohammad’s favorite part of the job is being able to use his training and expertise to improve the lives of his clients. “You have to like people, you have to enjoy communicating and talking to people. The other thing that’s very important is that you have to generally want to help someone.” He also learned a lot from The Academy, “I’m very happy that I went through the training program. Some executives actually followed up [and said] ‘Hey, how was the training? Did you guys like it?’ And I was able to give my feedback to make an improved program."

Many Advisor Development Paths

We have many different advisor roles across our organization. While every advisor position is deeply committed to helping clients meet their financial goals, there are some differences. See below on specifics, and learn how you fit in.

Self Directed

Help self-directed and online investors with their investing.

For StudentsNew To the industry
Advisor Development Summer Analyst Program
Wealth Management Industry exposure

ADP Relationship Manager
Gain core banking and client skills

Some experienceLicensed professionals
Financial Solution Advisor Trainee
Gain licensing, bnaking and investment knowledge

Financial Solution Advisor
Assist affluent clients with banking and investing

Explore open Self Directed roles

Merrill

Work with high-net-worth clients.

For StudentsNew or some experience
Advisor Development Summer Analyst Program
Wealth Management Industry exposure

Financial Solution Advisor Trainee
Gain licensing, banking and investment knowledge

Licensed professionals
Financial Solution Advisor
Assist affluent clients with banking and investing

Merrill Financial Advisor
Continue to develop high-net-worth wealth management practice
Financial Advisor Development Program
Assist high-net-worth clients with banking and investing needs

Explore open Merrill roles

Bank of America Private Bank

Work with ultra-high-net-worth clients.

For StudentsNew or some experience
Advisor Development Summer Analyst Program
Wealth Management Industry exposure

Financial Solution Advisor Trainee
Gain licensing, banking and investment knowledge

Licensed professionals
Financial Solution Advisor
Assist affluent clients with banking and investing

Private Client Advisor
Guide ultra-high-net-worth families through complex financial solutions
Private Client Development Program
Continue to develop ultra-high-net-worth wealth management practice
Begin to build your practice

Explore open Bank of America Private Bank roles

Paula Sabbagha

Paula

Paula Sabbagha is nearing the end of our 36-month Financial Advisor Development Program through Merrill. While excelling at the rigorous training and extensive coursework, Paula has 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 lived examples have also been invaluable. “Something comes up every day that I don’t know –and the resources that are there for us to learn…for me that’s the best way that I 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.

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