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Merrill FAs Get Exclusive Access to Sports and Entertainment Wealth Advisor Designation

By Alex Padalka May 17, 2021

Merrill Lynch financial advisors will temporarily have exclusive access to a new designation program from the College of Financial Planning aimed at advisors working with professionals in the sports and entertainment industries.

The Sports and Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management Advisor program, designed by the college in collaboration with Merrill, is built to train advisors on the specific needs of such clients, according to Bank of America, Merrill Lynch’s parent company.

The program addresses various areas of wealth planning, including qualitative planning, trusts, investments, retirement benefits, cash flow and tax planning, business and estate planning, as well as plan customization, BofA says. The college offers a choice of live, online or on-demand classes, according to the company.

Merrill advisors are the only ones who can tap the new program through May 2022 “[a]s recognition for Merrill’s collaboration on the design,” BofA says.

Merrill has also formed an internal sports and entertainment group to support advisors focusing on clients in those industries, according to BofA.

The program is designed in part to help families navigate sudden wealth, the company says, citing claims by author Antony Ghee that “80% of National Football League players and 60% of National Basketball Association players face bankruptcy or serious financial stress within two years of retiring from the league.”

“The distinct financial challenges that sports and entertainment professionals possess over their careers are the very reasons why they need a financial advisor who is qualified to address those challenges,” Dirk Pantone, president of the college, says in a statement.

“From a sudden-wealth event to an uneven or multiple income stream to an unknown career span, these professionals have added complexities in their financial lives and goals. We designed the SE-AWMA program to utilize real-world client situations and case studies to illustrate planning techniques and strategies that are instantly applicable to servicing client needs,” he adds.

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