Merrill Lynch keeps approach despite U.S. fiduciary rule changes: memo

FILE PHOTO - The company logo of the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch is displayed at its office in Hong Kong March 8, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch wealth management said the firm remains committed to its approach in light of an appeals court’s decision to overturn an Obama-era regulation, according to an internal memo viewed by Reuters on Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voided the U.S. Department of Labor’s so-called fiduciary rule on Thursday, nullifying nationwide the 2016 measure that was meant to curb conflicts of interest among providers of financial advice by requiring them to act in their clients’ best interests.

“Our core strategy - consistent with our principles - remains that we always will act in our clients’ best interest,” Merrill Lynch Wealth Management head Andy Sieg wrote in a memo sent to the firm’s more than 14,000 brokers. Last June, Merrill Lynch rolled out a limited-purpose brokerage individual retirement account, which paid brokers a commission and was compliant with the fiduciary rule.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli