Summer 2012 Site Review
Position: Global Wealth Management Intern
Student: Economics Junior
I interned for the Vicknair Mast Taylor group of the Houston Merrill Lynch office downtown. Each day I would come in the office, turn on my computer, and report to my supervisor for instructions. At first the projects were simple things like printing out letters and mail merging lists to print envelopes, stuffing them, putting stamps on them, and sending them to clients. Then we moved on to things that were a bit more difficult. One thing I had to do was communicate with each of the Financial Advisors in our office regarding the time span of each of the accounts and the liquidity needs on the account and then I had to update this information in the system in order to maintain FINRA and SEC regulations. That project took several weeks to complete. For another project, I generated and sent wealth outlook reports to each and every client in our book, as well as posting them to an online server for the clients’ convenience. One other ongoing project that I did throughout the summer involved searching for information on a list of over 4000 Houston area financial sector employees for ones that met a certain set of standards as potential hires for our firm. One of my other duties was to get the mail each day at 3:30. By and large though, we had different opportunities to learn each day, and we were given a lot of freedom to use our judgment about how to spend our time. Those of us that used our time wisely were noticed and rewarded. The most important thing I learned from this internship was to always be as prepared as possible, and when it is impossible to be prepared, to not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions was where I felt most of the value of this internship came from, and I’m sure this information will serve me well in the future.
Summer 2012 Site Review
Position: Financial Advising Intern
Student: Plan II Junior
Over the course of this summer I held an internship at Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America and the largest brokerage in the world. I worked under the tutelage of a senior vice-president financial advisor who has 16 years of experience. My supervisor was mainly in charge of retirement planning and wealth management for clients whose assets exceed $250,000. Most of the work he does revolves around 401(k)’s, but he also dabbles in high-end investments when managing the moneys of many of his clients.
My internship started at 8 A.M and ended at 12 P.M. When I first came in, I would sign in and meet my supervisor, a financial advisor. For the first 15 minutes of every day we go over the daily Merrill Lynch report of the market and its trends so that we can be prepared for the business day. After that, my supervisor usually goes into his office and starts calling clients to meet with them regarding retirement planning and wealth management. At this point, the types of jobs that were given to me were very varied. Sometimes I would have to go on Morningstar and prepare Excel sheets and graphs of certain stocks and funds that my supervisor was considering investing in. Other times I would have to mindlessly do paperwork by making sure that all the required categories were filled in and then filing them away. Whatever it was, it was all a really interesting experience because it really gave me insight into the financial sector and an idea of what I might want to do in the future. A decent amount of my time spent involved cold-calling potential clients found through the Department of Labor website in order to see if they would like to financially advised by my supervisor. That part was the worst because you get about 99 “no’s” before you finally get to a “yes”, but it really teaches you to get out of your comfort zone and call someone completely random about a service that they feel they don’t need.
Other than that, my day ended around 12 o’clock. I would sign-out and then go on home and then get ready for another day on the job tomorrow. After the first few days the internship really starts to feel repetitive. It feels like you do the same stuff over and over again. But keep in mind that the hard work you put in now will pay off later in life when you can bank on this experience to land a very fruitful internship and maybe even a career in the future.
Spring 2012 Site Review
Position: Wealth Management Intern (The Sharpe Group)
Student: Economics Senior
During the Spring Semester of 2012, I had the opportunity to intern at Merrill Lynch in Houston. I worked directly with a Corporate Advisory Team, which specialized in corporate wealth management for middle market businesses in the Houston area, as well as several clients on the national level.
I served as an intern working directly with the Vice-President on a daily basis. I worked between 10-12 hours a week, and completed several tasks and projects simultaneously. The full-timers were very nice and welcoming, and really kept this internship exciting and productive.
On a typical day, I arrived around 8 am, and began my day by printing the market report for equities. I wrote down the major fluctuations, along with my opinion on how current world events and legislation was affecting the prices to fluctuate. At around 9, I would take this report to the Vice-President, and would talk my way through the report with her, learning terms and concepts about the equity markets.
At around 10 am, I would begin making calls to CFO’s who had previously expressed interest in our products. These conversations were often brief, and normally just included them asking questions about lines of credit and asset-based/formula-based lending. I would answer their questions to the best of my ability, and write their information down for our team lead to answer any further questions they had. This experience really helped my learning curve, as I really wanted to learn about our products so I sounded confident talking to these CFO’s. At around 12 pm, I would look at audited reports of our past clients, and do basic financial statement analysis using leverage ratios to understand how the company was using its debt. This included several calculations, all of which I turned in to the Vice-President. My day would typically end around 1 pm, depending on if I had completed all of these tasks.
Fall 2011 Site ReviewPosition: Global Wealth Management Intern
Student: Plan II Honors Senior
This semester I worked as an intern in the downtown Austin office of Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. I worked directly with a Senior Financial Advisor who has been with the firm for over twenty-five years and who specializes in managing retirement plans for institutional clients. In addition to working with 401(k)’s, my supervisor also assists a book of individual, high net worth clients in managing their various investment accounts.
For me, a typical day at Merrill began at nine o’clock in the morning. I generally spent the first thirty minutes of every morning catching up on the latest financial news and reading any reports that might have been published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch research analysts overnight. More than anything, this helped me understand what might be affecting our clients and their capital on a day-to-day basis. With that refresher under my belt, I would then fill the rest of the day with whatever work was available for me. Close to ninety percent of the time this involved working with the 401(k) prospectus plans my supervisor compiled and updated for his institutional clients. Using in-house software tools and web-based resources I would research and organize the various mutual funds that might be a part of a particular retirement fund. Research would include gathering information on fund managers and describing fund performance through various ratios and return rates. In addition to technical work, I often was able to sit through conference calls between my supervisor and clients or representative from mutual companies. While not actually participating in the calls, the knowledge I was able to gain from them was intellectually interesting, and I am convinced much what I learned will benefit me later in my career.
Summer 2011 Site ReviewPosition: Wealth Management Intern
Student: Undeclared Sophomore
The Merrill Lynch Wealth Management office I worked at this summer was located in Suite 2800 at 2029 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067. My three co interns and I worked under the same Financial Advisor, and were expected to arrive at 9 a.m. promptly, even though he and most others in the office arrive at 6 every morning. My morning routine consisted of sitting at the Bloomberg terminal and doing a short report on the top news of the day, both world and financial. Then I would check in with my FA around 10 and give him my report. He would most likely ask me to research a municipality or corporation in which he is interested in buying securities in or currently owns securities in. He will give me some bond CUSIP numbers to look up on Bloomberg and the Internet. I would look at the parameters of the bond and find financials on these obligors. Then, I would analyze the financials to assess its true value. Around 12, I would take an hour for lunch, with a necessary coffee stop on the way back.
At 1, I would regroup with my boss and explain to him my findings of the day. It is at this point where I would truly learn the most, because he would have time to explain the purpose of my research, and teach me a thing or two about the business of Wealth Management. Throughout the day, he would also let me listen in on calls with clients to get a feel for how he deals on a day-to-day basis. Around 3 o’clock, we all leave.
Throughout the Summer, I had other various projects as well, such as organizing his client information. Overall, my summer at Merrill Lynch was very productive and a great learning experience.
Summer 2011 Site ReviewPosition: Intern
Student: Economics Junior
This summer I was an intern at Merrill Lynch at the Century City branch in Los Angeles. I interned for the Wealth Management Department and my boss was Garry Pace a Senior Vice President of the Wealth Management Department. For the first week my responsibilities were basic filing. This may not have been the most exciting work but I did learn the importance of organization.
After the first week my boss started to give me assignments that showed me how this business works. For one of my first assignments I was given a list of the top mutual funds. I had to research each of these mutual funds and write a short summary on each of them explaining why they do so well and their basic strategy. These summaries would then be given to clients or potential clients so they have a basic understanding of each mutual fund. I enjoyed doing this because I got a much better understanding of different industries such as bonds, stocks, real estate etc. After this my boss wanted me to create an excel spreadsheet that would have basic information on all of his clients. My boss wanted to be able to print these out and have them in his car at all times. Thus he would be able to call clients when he was out of the office and have their basic information with him. In addition, he would be able to add notes to his sheet as he was making the calls. This assignment again showed me the importance of organization skills. My final project was creating two long lists. The first list was a list of all the investment bankers in the Los Angeles area. For each investment banker, I had to provide their basic contact information such as email and phone number. Sometimes if certain information was not provided I then had to call the company and try getting the information. This greatly helped with my communication skills. I then had to make a second list that was a list of all the Valuation Bankers in the Los Angeles Area. My boss wanted to talk to these people and try to create additional connections and hopefully get additional clients. I had a great overall experience at my internship and would definitely recommend it to other people.
Summer 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Summer Intern
Student: Economics Junior
This summer I interned at the firm Merrill Lynch/Bank of America in Austin Texas located down on Town Lake at by Ceaser Chavez and Congress streets. I specifically worked in the Wealth Management Group the called the Heidmann/Jefferson Group where we handled the investments of many high end clients. In my position I was used in many different capacities within many different groups around the office, therefore there was always something new to learn and new skills to develop.
There were some daily activities I performed daily in the mornings before I started upon whatever projects the day had in store for me. Every morning you came into the office it started with signing into the intern log then preceding to the largest copy room and refilling the several machines with paper. After that it was off to the rest of the various printers and copiers scattered about the office. The number of printers and copiers totaled nearly thirty that all needed filling every morning. After refilling all the printers I would go to our group and go to my office where there was generally a pile of reports that needed binding or letters that I needed to get ready to be mailed out to the clients. On most days after I finished with these tasks I would then ask Wade my supervisor what was going on that day or what project we would be working on because he made sure that there was always some project that I could complete as well as teach me something new. Wade generally would try and show me things about his job from rebalancing portfolios to helping manage the employees in our location. Overall there was a lot to do and keep busy with every day.
Summer 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Intern
Student: English Junior
My Bank of America Merrill Lynch internship has been one of the most beneficial jobs and opportunities that I have ever had. This is the first time I have held a professional job position that taught me about the culture and challenges of being in a real working world.
I worked in and out of three adjacent offices alongside my supervisor and her team of four others. I came in at 9:30 a.m., signed in, and then immediately went to my supervisor to receive my daily responsibilities. I faxed, mailed, filed, scanned and copied a lot but I also learned how to analyze money markets and different investments like mutual funds, stocks, and bonds for many clients. I floated in and out of the five offices, helping any of the team members who needed assistance. I enjoyed this because I meet and dealt with different personalities throughout the day.
The environment was always fast-paced, genuine, and diligent. Sometimes, it was my responsibility to meet and greet clients on the first floor and bring them up to meet with my team on the eleventh when they had a meeting. I also had the exciting privilege of attending many educational luncheon or dinner seminars with nationally recognized speakers, many of the times being in the presence of some high net-worth clientele. I would highly recommend this internship to any student interested in finance. For me there have been no down falls to anything I learned or did and the learning experience and tools that I have gained have been and will be extremely valuable.
Summer 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Corporate Banking Intern
Student: Economics Senior
As someone who has benefited from the many advantages of an internship, I can give a clear and precise overview of how and why I believe that this specific internship is beneficial to those willing to learn about the financial industry. The Sharpe Group, a wealth management and corporate banking subsidiary of Merrill Lynch located in the Houston Galleria, is a team of 5 financial advisors and assistants that work towards managing their affluent client’s assets and liabilities in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Whereas some groups are focused on specific fields such as general banking or investment banking, The Sharpe Group has the ability to work with companies and individuals with a broader category of opportunities such as mortgage refinancing, investment strategies, and business lending. Also, by working with a tightly knit team such as this, you are able to work and learn one-on-one with each advisor respectively and take away something unique from each as they seek to make the most out of your time in the office.
Your role could vary from cold calling in order to expand the client base, reading and summarizing financials for a prospective corporate lending opportunity, to joining advisors on investment meetings with clients. A typical day would begin by arriving in the Galleria’s Financial Center around 7:40 a.m. and joining the other interns in the supervisor’s office. Your day begins by reading the Dow Jones News report and taking about 15 minutes to discuss the news as well as its relevance to the day’s work. The supervisor reads off which interns will be with what advisors for the day, and it’s off to the races. Throughout the day, you are assisting advisors and working on specific projects for the day. After lunch when the news is read and discussed once again, new assignments are given and previous ones are presented to your supervisor. The day winds down by going through the day’s market actions and what the future holds for the upcoming day and what we will be doing during that time. The Sharpe Group is a great fit for those looking for an opportunity to show their interactive and academic skills and those willing to work hard for progression of the group’s goals.
Summer 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Wealth Management Intern
Student: Government Sophomore
For the last couple weeks I have been an intern, an unpaid bottom of the totem pole employee of one of the largest wealth management divisions in the world—Merrill Lynch. Beginning at 8 a.m. everyday I make the 20-minute drive to downtown Amarillo and funnel into my assigned parking spot. As I walk into the building I begin to blend in with the rest of the employees as we are all sporting the same outfit, a suit. The office I work at is divided into two sections; the first section I rarely go to unless I am going to the lunchroom, which is daily, but the other side is where the team I work for is located. The team, or the Kuhn Group, consists of four employees who specialize in different aspects of Wealth Management. The main financial advisor I have worked under was Marwan Touma who specializes in international advising, and is one of only three in the state of Texas to be certified for offshore trading. As the day continues, I work from my desk, which is located right next to Marwan. I begin each day with reading about 10-20 pages of morning reports from Merrill Lynch that describe different sectors of the economy. After I complete my reading, I report back to Marwan and give him a quick synopsis of all the “morning tidbits.” Throughout the day my responsibilities range from what is on the plate for the team and especially Marwan. The majority of the time I work side by side with Marwan and help construct investment proposals for clients, and help find stocks, mutual funds, or proper annuities for certain clients. However, other days I would be assigned to a computer to clean up many client databases that were clustered on a program called Sales Force. Moreover, my experience at Merrill Lynch has been very valuable and helpful to showing me the daily life of a financial advisor and a wealth management company.
Summer 2009 Site ReviewStudent: Economics Junior
Position: Financial Advisor Intern
Working for Merrill Lynch was an absolutely unparalleled experience, which provided me with the resources and training necessary to thrive within the financial services industry. My experiences at Merrill Lynch helped me to develop a better understanding of financial products and services such as retirement planning, securities, municipal bonds, options, mortgages, and much more. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to learn about any other financial topics of my choosing which included hedge funds, quantitative analysis, the CFA exam, and even statistical arbitrage! Merrill Lynch is renowned for their superior research, and as a Merrill Lynch financial advisor intern you will have access to the firm’s daily research reports as well as Merrill Lynch University, Merrill’s online educational database. If you are eager to learn more about the “sell” side of Wall Street, then the financial advisor internship program at Merrill Lynch may be a good fit for you!
Personally, I worked as a Financial Advisor Intern for Merrill Lynch at the Houston Galleria office. I worked directly with a junior level financial advisor and his team, The Eckhardt Group, which was composed of two other advisors. The nature of your daily responsibilities, work schedule, and overall experience is entirely dictated by the financial advisor that you work with. Therefore, at your interview make a point to ask the financial advisor to describe your daily routine and work schedule. Fortunately, I worked with an outstanding financial advisor who was very reasonable in terms of work responsibilities and scheduling flexibility. In fact, I was able to create my own schedule, which was ideal because I only had to work for four hours a day, four days a week, which allowed me to work while I attended summer school.
Financial advising is essentially a sales position within the financial industry. As a financial advisor, your role within the company is to accumulate net new assets under management for the first three years of your career. The remainder of your time at the firm you spend managing your clients’ assets. Therefore, as a financial advisor intern, it is your responsibility to assist your supervisor with their marketing campaigns. A typical day as a financial advisor intern at Merrill Lynch primarily consists of cold calling prospective clients to inform them about particular products or services that your financial advisor offers. It is important to note that cold calling constitutes a considerable part of your internship. Therefore, you must be comfortable speaking on the phone, and you must be able to handle rejection well. Any prior experience in telemarketing or sales will really help you excel during your internship. A more exciting aspect of the internship was that I was able to attend client meetings and seminars, which were generally located at extravagant restaurants. At these meetings I was able to witness the results of all of the cold calls that I made, which was very encouraging. Also, I was able to participate in a finance project that consisted of developing a trading strategy, selecting twenty stocks which met those criteria, and then efficiently allocating the money that you are going to invest to minimize your risk and maximize your return using the Modern Portfolio Theory.
Working as a financial advisor intern at Merrill Lynch is a very rewarding position within the financial industry, and it looks very good on your resume. During your internship, you will learn everything that you would want to know about the finance and more! However, it is important to know that the financial internship position consists of a great deal of salesmanship. Also, remember to ask your supervisor what responsibilities he will assign you. Good luck!
Summer 2009 Site Review
Working for Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking Group this summer in New York City, I was one of six interns that were divided amongst a team of thirty professionals. I worked every day from 8 to 5, but the team was flexible should I ever need to take a day off. The KKM Team is manages the wealth of ultra high net worth clients, averaging $30 million each. The team is therefore highly specialized into investment strategists, relationship management, and financial planners. I worked alongside the relationship managers and financial planners while assisting client associates (who work directly under the relationship managers). My daily activities included following the comparative returns for different indices, researching various money managers, and basically assisting the team with daily duties. I was able to attend weekly investment strategy meetings as well as other meetings regarding various investment vehicles. Over the course of the summer, I grew to better understand how the financial services industry works. At a time when the economy is both unpredictable and something of a nightmare, it was interesting to view people’s different approaches to managing their wealth. Most were averse to taking risks and therefore primarily invested in municipal bonds; however, it’s obvious that risks are necessary for great reward. I spent a lot of time behind a computer, and a lot of what I learned I feel like I learned through osmosis. My supervisors were quick to help me should I have any questions, but the internship was what you made it. Some people were bored because there isn’t as much work in the summers, but we had access to Merrill Lynch’s market research, which was an awesome learning tool.
Summer 2009 Site Review
This internship in the Global Wealth Management division of Merrill Lynch in San Jose, CA is based on meeting the needs of private clients. Responsibilities include performing due diligence on various investment vehicles, such as stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Upon completion of due diligence, reports or summaries are drafted on each potential investment and sent to financial advisors. Advisors then present investment options to clients with their suggestions, who have the final say in what is invested on their behalf.
As an intern, I worked with financial advisors and vice-presidents to ensure client objectives were met in a timely fashion. The most common assignment was to contact mutual funds to ask for an update on their particular fund’s long-term strategy and how they plan to invest going forward. Information acquired during these fund updates and other meetings such as conference calls are then drafted into reports presented to client advisors. I was also responsible for drafting letters sent to clients and financial institutions and contacting clients in case any difficulties arose. I primarily focused on mutual fund investment because other interns were already assigned to the equities division. This meant I often sat in on mutual fund pitches and luncheons in which a mutual fund representative or a wholesaler came in and pitched their product. In my spare time, I often spent my time on the equities floor where most of the equity traders were. This was where I gained the majority of my exposure to stocks, although I was concentrated on mutual funds and fixed income products around 75% of the time.
Every day that I intern begins at 8 AM. Mutual fund investments are not nearly as based on the market open each day (6:30 AM PST), so I can afford to come in later. I usually do menial work until 9 AM, which is when my primary supervisor, Neel, comes in. A lot of the work he makes me do relates to getting lists of prospective clients, contacting those clients or doing research and updates on existing mutual fund/equity investments. This usually lasts until 11 AM, which is when Paul Lukas, a vice president who I also work under, comes out of his daily morning client meetings. He often has mutual funds come in for pitches, and I often sit in on a pitch or conference call for around an hour. At noon I report back to Neel, who usually leaves me idle until 1 PM (unless there is something important to do), which is when most of the office breaks for lunch or a lunchtime presentation by a wholesaler/mutual fund. After lunch finishes at 2 PM, I leave the office for the day.
Summer 2009 Site Review
A “Day In The Life” of an financial advisor intern at Merrill Lynch remains pretty stable and consistent throughout the duration of the summer. The style of the team I was involved with was relaxed and friendly; interns were treated as co-workers, not slaves. However, a hierarchy is clearly evident within each group. As a young Financial Advisor, as mine was, the majority of the time is spent cold calling clients and organizing seminars for potential clients. Prior to the internship, I thought I would be actively researching the markets, looking over reports, and so on; this wasn’t the case. As an intern you have access to all these resources, but it is not part of your scheduled routine. At first it was difficult for me to accept a position that I felt a student in high school could be successful at. Also, I quickly discovered that all interns at Merrill had the same roll I did. An intern would either spend their time cold calling, filing, stuffing envelopes, or on other miscellaneous assignments. Higher education and good credentials is what gets your foot in the door with for this internship, but its level of difficulty is low.
To give my honest opinion on this internship to students who were looking to intern with a brokerage firm in the financial industry, I would say to take it. I am a student planning on going to business school for graduate studies so an issue of great importance to me was to get a big name firm on my resume. Merrill provides support for your resume and such a name will exponentially increase your chances of getting a job in the financial industry. The internship gives students a good sense of life in the corporate world, and broadens your understanding of markets and investing.
Summer 2008 Site Review
For the summer of 2008, I interned for Merrill Lynch in Austin, TX for a Financial Advisor named Michael Zuber. Merrill Lynch is a wealth management, capital markets and advisory company that hold offices in several territories of the world. Their main focus is wealth management for high net worth clients, both individuals and businesses. Merrill Lynch is organized into two business segments known as Global Markets & Investment Banking and Global Wealth Management.
This summer while working for Michael, all of my work was for a Global Wealth Management advisor. The main goal of wealth management is to provide planning for future strategies for wealth accumulation, wealth preservations, and wealth transfer. Everyday I went to work; Michael would come up with a new assignment for me to do. I worked 15 hours a week for Merrill. They were very flexible with my work schedule because I was doing summer school as well. I showed up Monday through Thursday from 1-4 everyday. All day I would work on my assigned projects while completely smaller assignments I would check on everyday. For instance, Michael does a lot of trades everyday for his clients so when he is buying different bonds, it was my job on a daily basis to check the bond confirmation and let him know once they had gone through.
Most of my assignments consisted of working on spreadsheets related to the market. I would organize percentages based on size and style and sectors of the market and then I would compare those percentages through different indexes of the market. Michael would focus on certain areas of the market that helped him decided on how to deal with his client’s money. Besides my different assignments, Michael would give me new reading material everyday that taught me about the different indexes such as Dow Jones, Russell 3000, S & P 500, NYSE, and so on. I would have different reading material everyday and it really helped me get a better understanding of the market. At work, I learned to adapt to the working atmosphere and get to know the people in the office. Working for Merrill Lynch this summer has been a worthwhile experience and has taught me all kinds of lessons.
Fall 2008 Site Review
“Day in the Life” of a Merrill Lynch Intern
The important thing to understand about a company with the publicity and stature of Merrill Lynch is that the environment is highly professional in conduct, appearance, and for the most part communication. I was required to wear a suit, and present myself in a clean-cut way everyday meaning that facial hair must be under tight maintenance. All of this is a part of the minimum expectation of a Merrill Lynch employee at this branch and most others as well.
I am a management intern as opposed to a Financial Advisor intern. The difference between the two is something that I am slightly aware of because I did not fully experience what a financial intern was required to do. With that said, I did end up working a bit with a few different financial advisors, and essentially I was doing the same things for them as I was doing for the management side of the office. Typically these tasks were highly secretarial. The tasks ranged from filing documents, re-filing documents that were improperly filed by the last intern, data entry into a computer program, copying, binding, printing, and the occasional research project for the firm.
*A sort of editor’s note: I can imagine that there would have been fewer secretarial tasks and more research projects had Merrill Lynch not been sold to Bank of America.
On a typical day at Merrill Lynch I was expected to arrive at the beginning of the day, 8:00 AM or somewhere near that time, but I am still not sure why they did not encourage me to show up a little later on account of it typically was 9:30 AM before they actually had anything for me to do. This was something that was very boring to me until I got my own desk and computer, which did not last as long as I would have liked. I would start on some sort of filing task or data entry project around 9:30 and would typically finish the filing task by 10:15 or so, but if it was a data entry project I usually kept me busy the whole day. After I finished the filing task at 10:15 I would typically sit around until they provided me with something else to do. They would usually loan me out to an FA to do some sort of filing or data entry project. This sort of thing would go on until I left around 3:OO PM. Of course there was a lunch break whenever I desired to take it and they usually did not put a time limit on the break, which was favorable.