Merrill Lynch Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 19, 2014
Updated Aug 19, 2014
348 interviews

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  1.  

    Financial Advisor Trainee Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Denver, CO
    Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took a day - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in June 2010.

    Interview Details

    Merrill Lynch requires a FIAT test to be taken before an interview can be scheduled. It's a Financial Indicator Aptitude Test that consists of fractional equations, capital market type economic questions, and even some geometry...like giving the pertimeter of the outside of a room. Definitely brush up on advanced math and complicated economy problems to be ready.

    Interview Questions
    • If given X area square footage and X length of the room, what is the room's perimeter?   View Answers (7)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 26 people found this helpful  

    Financial Advisor Trainee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in April 2011.

    Interview Details

    1. I was contacted by a recruiter to basically do a screening interview. He explained to me what the position entailed and what the requirements were and what the process would be like. He then asked me if I was interested and if I would come to a Hiring Event within the next week. I accepted
    2. I went to the hiring event, which was laid back and informal. They served us refreshments and gave us information about the company and about the position. We were told what it would be like to be in the program and given a folder full of information explaining the pay structure for the first 3 years, commission structure, series 66 & 7, as well as the requirements for the interview process moving forward. If we did not pass both of these tests then we would not be able to move forward in the process and we would not be eligible to retake the test for 6 months. At the end of the presentation the Resident Director and the Recruiter gave out their contact information asked us to send them an email letting them know if we wanted to move forward with the process. A day later I accepted the challenge.
    3. I waited about 2 weeks for the next step, which was the FIAT exam. The FIAT is a Financially Intelligent Aptitude Test. Look it up online. You should also take a refresher on long division and long decimal multiplication. You cannot use a calculator. The same day I was informed that I passed and would be set up for the next round, which was the personality test.
    4. I took the personality test a couple of days later. This is a timed test so I recommend you have peace and quiet so that you can focus. This is the test that will tell them what kind of advisor you will be. They will ask you questions about investing, sales ability, job history, personality questions, as well as a survey asking you how many people you know with a net worth of $250K in liquid cash to invest. They want to know if you are already connected to wealth. It was explained to me that this test is weighted and should be strong in the job history and network of relationships portion of the test. After passing this test then I was scheduled for a 1:1 interview with the Resident Director. This interview was centered around my plan for client acquisition. If you really want to get this job make sure you go above and beyond on this plan. I went the extra mile and had my plan bound at Kinkos for $10. I also formatted my plan like a presentation instead of in just bullet points. Do not be underprepared. There are so many sites that will help you prepare your plan. After this round I was passed to the next round, which would be an interview with the Regional Branch Manager.
    5. This interview was not located in the city I live in. I actually had to travel for this meeting. It was well worth it considering I pretty much knew I would get this job; however, my meeting with him was probably the most challenging. The one question that I was asked in round 4 and 5 was, "Are you sure this is what you want to do and why"? I told him yes and that I understood that it was a very big decision but if I committed then I would be 110% committed. He explained to me that I would be extended an offer by the Resident Director and that he would be in contact with me very soon.
    6. I advise anyone seeking an opportunity with Merrill to contact someone outside that office that also works for Merrill to get as much advice as possible. It helped me out and the FAs in other offices were very open to being helpful throughout the whole process. Do not be shy. That is not what they want. They want aggressive but not arrogant. Be dressed very well. Look as though you are already employed as an FA. I wore a tailored navy suit, a white shirt with french cuffs, black cap-toe shoes, and a very conservative power tie. I wore a bow-tie to the hiring event so that I would stick out among the others there. It definitely worked. The resident director told me that I was memorable at the event and that set me apart from the other candidates. How you dress is very important as well.
    8. The regional director told me something that may help you. He told me that there are 3 qualities a FA at Merrill Lynch has to possess without question.
    A) Intelligence (to pass the Licensing Exams and learn the products)
    B) Work Ethic (to work your client acquisition plan without ceasing)
    C) Sales Ability (The ability to make people comfortable and like you)

    Interview Questions
    • Why do you want to be a financial advisor?   View Answer
    • Are you sure you want to do this?   View Answer
    • What do you believe the hardest part is about a financial advisors job at Merrill Lynch?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I was given the chance to negotiate and you will to; however, you need to remember that what you accept will determine your goals. The higher the salary; the higher the goals.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    Investment Banking Vice-President Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  London, England (UK)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England (UK)
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in August 2010.

    Interview Details

    Head hunter, interviews with senior MDs

    Interview Questions
    • what would you describe as the most important factors in building a smart order router   Answer Question
    • do you have any difficulties with your current management?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    not much possible and over very quickly
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Technology Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 2 days - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in March 2008.

    Interview Details

    The interview process was quite short, but it was because of an immediate opening. the technology guys at merrill are very good and they know their stuff. They mostly asked me questions in C++ as that was what my experience was in. Even though the role was more on C# development. The pay is pretty good too.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Vice President Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in October 2009.

    Interview Details

    Got brought in by two managers and itnially hired in the location I wasn't looking for. The culture was a shark tank. The brokers with the most seniority are like little babies who run to the branch manager for every little thing. Everyone was extremely nice for about a week. After that it was like any other sales pit. People talking behind each others backs saying they will help then in reality actually telling you not to bother the other brokers. It was so bad i though i was working in 8th grade again.

    Interview Questions
    • why do you think this job is for you at this time in your career   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    The hiring mangaer made the number, but the local manager only talked about how I was getting 20K more than him 4 years ago and how hard it was to support a family and yada yada yada. Not a goood way to recruit highy educated and skilled employees
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    Financial Advisor Trainee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 2 days - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in March 2010.

    Interview Details

    I was referred to Merrill by a current employee. I have a background as a Financial Advisor but have been out of the biz for a few years. Initially, I was contacted by the assistant of a top level executive. An interview was arranged two weeks out and I was asked to fill out paperwork for a background and credit check to bring in during my interview. The day of the interview was intense and Merrill is a very impressive firm. The interview process on that day lasted nearly four hours. I interviewed with three people separately: a senior broker who also conducted the training program, a veteran broker, and the complex director. Because I have previous knowledge of the job and was in my position long enough to prove success, a few steps were skipped. I did not have to take the math or economics tests even though my securities licenses recently expired. Due to the recession and awful prospects of jobs in finance, many of my positions were short-term since leaving my previous firm. The complex director's main concern was whether I would be dedicated to the firm i.e. was I going to quit after a short period. (Sincerely I can say, no, it was not my intention - I was looking to reenter my career permanently with the best firm on the street). He left me with "Call me tomorrow and convince me why you are not going to hop jobs on me."

    A sleepless night ensued as I wrote down my thoughts to try to convince him that this is truly what I wanted. The next morning I placed my first call to his assistant at 6:30 a.m. and proceeded to call her three times before 8 a.m., leaving a message each time. The director never gave me his number or his card - on purpose. The front desk would only send me to his assistant's voicemail when I called so I did some googling and found his direct line through LinkedIn. At 8:30 a.m. I called his direct line to which he answered on speaker. The first words out of his mouth were "Persistence, I love it. How many times have you called me this morning?" "Three previously" I replied." He had received all of my messages. (Rookies, this was a test. I was never asked to answer the question that had kept me up all night). The next words out of his mouth were for me to go meet with a broker and branch manager in the next town - in one hour. The other two interviews were a little more easygoing and the gentlemen couldn't have been any friendlier. I was then instructed to go back to the main office where I had originally interviewed and at that time was verbally offered the position from the director. A formal written offer came the next morning and my start date is under one week away.

    Merrill is the top notch wirehouse on the street and any doubts I had about that were thrown out the window upon being invited to experience their culture, technology, and program. I'll try to update as I move forward through my first year.

    My advice to rookies that want to enter the business: Number one, this is a sales job. Knowledge about the markets is good but not necessary. You'll learn quick through lunch seminars and senior brokers; many of whom will take an interest in your success. Be persistent always in the interview process and it will help you immensely to show them a plan of how you will obtain your clients. The name of the game is client acquisition - not knowledge of the markets. Going into the interview with this foremost in your mind will put you far ahead of other applicants. Call or email the branch manager of a brokerage of which you may want to apply. Tell them that you are thinking of entering the business and ask if there are a few brokers you can talk to and ask questions. When speaking to these brokers be sure to ask them for tips on how to build a book of business. They should give you a rough outline of what to talk about during your interview, or even if this business is right for you. It should go without saying that you should be very well dressed and groomed. Charisma will always work in your favor so don't be shy. Be polite but don't feel a need to kiss too much butt. Brokers are essentially independent contractors and the organizational structure is usually loose. The more you can talk to people in the business the better off you will be; both for job seeking purposes and success in your career. Good luck to all of you.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    I was offered a reasonable salary considering my licenses had expired. I accepted their offer and did not negotiate. Do not negotiate unless you have an extensive resume in sales. Remember, you will be on commission in addition to salary so you can make up the difference (and then some) if this career is right for you.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Financial Advisor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in August 2008.

    Interview Details

    I had a buddy that I went to B-school with send my resume to the Sales Manager. He sent me an email and invited me to an information session that they were having a local country club. I liked the session and the Sales Manager called a few days later to set up a face-to-face in his office. The first interview was really a get to know each other interview. He invited me to come back the next week for a series of interviews and to take a skills test. He called me a day later and said that he wanted me to come with a business plan consisting of how I was going to gather $30 million in assets in 3 years. Not a small task!!! When I showed up for the next series of interviews, I was given a skills test that all ML'ers have to take and pass. I never found out my exact score, but a secretary took me to the Sales Manager's office where we talked about my business plan and proceeded to do some role playing. He wrapped up the interview with some pointers on how I could improve and said that he would be in touch. 2 days later, he called asked to come by. It was then that he presented and offer and I accepted. The Sales Manager was really the one who sold me on the position. He was very gracious and professional. I instantly liked him. The staff was cordial and professional.

    Interview Questions
    • How are you going to bring in $30 million in assets in 3 years?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I was able to negotiate an increase in base salary. If you have a graduate degree you will be offered the middle tier which is adequate. They pay the big bucks to brokers who are coming from other firms and have an established book of business. My best advice would be to realize that this is a sales position. Don't count on using your MBA. Also remember that the production hurdles ramp up in a hurry despite the current market environment. If you like sales, this is the position for you.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Financial Advisor Trainee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Boston, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 1+ week - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in August 2008.

    Interview Details

    initial contact with the company was through an old college friend working at the company who put my resume on the hiring director's desk. quick phone interview led to a one on one interview with the managing director, basic math skills test (no calculator), interview with a senior financial adivsor from the office.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    N/A
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Financial Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Chicago, IL
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Application Details

    I interviewed through college or university. The process took 4 days - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in June 2008.

    Interview Details

    Initial interview took place on my college campus and lasted 30 minutes. I was then invited to join 3 executives, 3 financial analyst and 5 other interviewees for dinner at a restaurant downtown. The next morning I had to attend on-site interviews at Merrill. They consisted of 4 one-on-one interviews and one panel interview. I had to come back one more time to interview with 2 more people that did not have a chance to meet me. Two weeks later I received a call that I got the job. Phewwwww.

    Interview Questions
    • How many oranges do you think are consumed in the US over a period of one year.   Answer Question
    • How many miles do you think Detroit is from LA.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I did not negotiate because it was my first job out of college and I received an offer heigher than I expected. I should have though. I would have asked for a few thousand more if I could do it again. All your raises and future salaries will be given in percentage increases. So the heigher your first job out of college the heigher will be all the subsequent raises.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Financial Advisor Trainee Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in June 2008.

    Interview Details

    You have to go through several rounds. First there is a one-on-one interview with lower management, a group interview with several senior financial advisors, and a one-on-one interview with the managing director. You will also have to complete a multiple-choice test which ensures you have basic math and economics knowledge. You will need to know basic economics terminology and concepts such as GDP, CPI etc. It is a general test, and doesn't require specific market knowledge.

    The questions asked are typical, also dependent on the manager interviewing you. Remember that the FA job is foremost about charisma and personality. You are interviewing for a sales job -- prepare accordingly. Having a preliminary business plan (types of prospects you will pursue, market segments, etc.) prepared will be more useful than rattling off reams of stock market knowledge. It is assumed that you will learn this as you go. Remember: more sales people from non-financial industries get hired than financial industry quants.

    This also goes without saying: dress accordingly. This is a white-shoe firm. Women: Wear a dark pantsuit or skirtsuit with a pressed blouse. Demure hair and make up, not too much scent. And wear heels, preferably dark leather, definitely close-toed. Men: A suit, tie, shirt, all pressed. Cufflinks and subtle cologne. Dark, shinable leather shoes. Now is not the time to stand out and make a statement.

    You will also need to complete your Series 7, 66 (state), and state insurance licensing (to sell annuities) after you are hired. You basically get one shot at each test but LOTS of time to study and materials to study. Good luck.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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