Pros: Their glossy decks grab your attention.
Cons: The endless amount of fine print, hidden fees and nondisclosures.
Ok, let's preface this with the fact that I've been with Merrill Lynch for 7 years - trying to figure out what to do with the 401k from WorldCom/MCI they've mismanaged for the life of the fund(s). In fact, I'm sure many feel the way I do, Merrill may have settled with the SEC but never settled with me! "Sixty-grand and some change" their friendly representative mused as he discussed all the wonderful things that Merrill Lynch still wanted so desperately to do to me! No to mention their mediocre web site, let's stick to basics shall we? If you want to lose more of your retirement money move your 401k to Merrill Lynch. Their representative will talk up their A shares with 5% upfront load and their C-shares (which they really want you to buy because the rep gets residuals) come fee free! Except you can't do anything with them for the 1st year. Oh well, you can move it into an MR-IRA they say. Free for life they say - even 'give' you a '$100 annual savings' account that will cover their 'account maintenance.' Seriously, an account to cover the funds necessary to manage your account - for free! What could be better! You see, after speaking with the friendly Merrill Lynch representative, I never received the callback he promised! I continue to receive statements (which are mandatory for ML) and continue to search for that value they promised has been delivered. Whats even more fantastic is that for those who stayed working for MCI, now Verizon, and despite their new employer having their 401k managed by Merrill as well, theyre not allowed to rollover due to all the litigation that remains as a result of Merrills collusion and admitted malfeasance(Please See: Bloomberg.com July 6, 2004) . I guess it is clear to me now why I didnt get that call back after all it gets litigious. You see, I suspect that when they tell you your fund is illegible for rollover into an employer-sponsored 401k terms and conditions DO apply. They cant talk about some of the terms of course - all of the law suits havent yet been settled.