Merrill Lynch Embraces The Longevity Economy

When it comes to the issue of longevity and the ageing population, there is so much talk and very little consumer-facing action.

So it is always refreshing when I see evidence of a company that is actually responding in a positive way, to this inevitable change.

According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch began integrating longevity in its thinking back in 2014.

They asked leaders from each division how longevity would impact their business and to identify needs and opportunities it created.

Their efforts culminated in a comprehensive framework for financial advisors that helped people get to and navigate through retirement. It is called the 7 Life Priorities; Family, work, health, home, giving, leisure, and finances.

New initiatives, research, tools, checklists, training, and education were also created to enhance the use of the new framework and the institution’s longevity strategy. The goal was to be sure each client and their advisor could address the simple question: “Are You Fit to Live to 100?”

“Longevity will become the core organizing principle for all financial services companies,”

Russ Hill, Chairman and CEO of Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, a financial services industry expert

Six Longevity Programs

The team took a more holistic approach to their clients’ needs to develop six programs that illustrate the company’s longevity strategy;

  1. A Specially Trained Longevity Advisor Force
  2. New Tools and Resources for Clients to Prepare for Longevity
  3. Forums for Discussions on Longevity and Related Issues
  4. Financial Education for Clients
  5. New Tools for the Unique Planning Needs of Women
  6. Employer Partnership

More to Come

Over the next five years, the ML team plans to increase use of the longevity products, understand the need for long-term care insurance, build better knowledge on health care proxies, power of attorneys, drive innovation around women, and make planning for longevity easier for all clients and employees.


The financial services industry has been one of the first sectors to recognize the opportunities and needs presented by this changing demographic.

Too often we see corporate response limited to conferences, seminars, speeches and white papers – very little customer-focussed action. Part of the reason for this that it has been difficult to prove the return on investment for such initiatives.

Companies take note; Merrill Lynch reports increased customer satisfaction, retention, and acquisition. Equally important, the benefits to their employees and corporate culture around all dimensions of the new longevity — not just their financial health.