Lawsuit: Merrill Lynch Provoked #metoo Moment To Save $1 Million In Broker Pay

Whatever it takes to cut costs.
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By Bank of America Corporation (Merryl Lynch Wealth Management) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bank of America Corporation (Merrill Lynch Wealth Management) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the last couple of years, Merrill Lynch has been experimenting with how to pay its army of brokers—those who aren’t helping prop up the rest of Bank of America, anyway—less.

First, it cut the pay of anyone who didn’t make at least two referrals to other BofA businesses. The stick approach having apparently failed, Irish dad Brian Moynihan went with the carrot, promising a 2% bonus to those who made the referrals—and a 2% pay cut to those who failed to sufficiently add to their product.

And then there’s the experiment that allegedly went on in Vegas, where Merrill stands accused of just outright screwing one top producer out of $1 million, which is certainly one way to cut compensation costs.

Former Merrill Lynch broker Betsy Whipple, 52, who filed the civil complaint in US District Court in Las Vegas, also claims she was screamed at by her male managers, and she accused the firm of attempting to steal her assets and cheating her on her signing bonus….

The broker, who lives on a sprawling 1,500-acre Nevada horse ranch with a newly planted vineyard, managed assets of more than $20 million at Merrill, which she also accuses of cooking the books — claiming the firm wrongly coded her payments at the institutional rather than retail level. That action denied her bonus payouts and the ability to scale up the pay grid, she claimed.

As a result, Whipple alleged, she got hammered for a transaction fee of as much as $200 per each trade she submitted, rather than pulling in a much higher commission.

Oh, and then there’s the infanticide portion of the lawsuit which, given the expense of IVF, are financial as well as gut-wrenching emotional abuse accusations.

She alleged the job stress caused her to lose two in-vitro pregnancies. “Both were compromised by management screaming at her, causing her blood pressure to rise and the fertilizations to fail,” her lawsuit claims.

Broker sues Merrill Lynch for gender discrimination [N.Y. Post]

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