Bank of America said it has hired 40 new financial solutions advisors for its Merrill Edge business in the mid-Atlantic region as the bank seeks to bring that total advisor force to 1,000 nationally by the end of this year.

The new strategy comes as Bank of America is bulking up its services to what it calls “preferred” customers, or those with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. Bank of America currently works with more than 8 million customers falling into that category.

The firm’s Merrill Edge business includes team-based brokerage services. It also has a separate online investing platform.

Adding new financial solutions advisors in the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., is aimed at serving both preferred and small business customers, Tony Burns, regional sales manager of Merrill Edge mid-Atlantic regional sales said in a statement.

Bank of America is also expanding its small business banker force to 1,000 to work alongside its financial solutions advisors in local areas.

“By adding FSAs [financial solutions advisors] in the banking centers, we offer customers the benefit of in-person attention from a specialist who can help them meet their entire financial needs across banking and investing,” Burns said.

In addition, Bank of America said it is also expanding its services to these clients in other ways, including specialty stores with investment, mortgage and small business specialists and video conferencing. The firm has opened five of these locations in the Washington, D.C. area.

New developments to Merrill Edge’s offerings this year include 481 new no transaction fee mutual funds, as well as applications for the BlackBerry, iPad and iPhone.




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