Bank of America’s Merrill Edge Launches Program to Help Families With Special Needs Children

NEW YORK--()--Bank of America announced today that Merrill Edge will launch a new program that offers parents and caregivers in mass affluent families the advice and guidance to help prepare them financially to take care of a loved one with special needs, while managing their own long-term goals.

“These new capabilities will assist the 21 million American families caring for a member with special needs1,” said Alok Prasad, head of Merrill Edge. “Our specially trained group of Bank of America Financial Solutions Advisors are able to provide information and options specific to the near-term and long-term financial issues faced by the parents of a child with special needs. We are delighted to offer new capabilities to help our customers prepare for their family’s future.”

According to the recently published Merrill Edge Report*, mass affluent customers are extremely concerned about rising health care costs, their ability to support their family members and their own retirement.

As part of the program, a select team of Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisors have been trained through the company’s proprietary Certified Special Needs Advisor (CSNA) professional designation program to better understand the unique challenges of families with children who have disabilities and provide specialized guidance. In addition, Merrill Edge online provides additional perspectives and help including a Special Needs calculator. This tool is designed to help families analyze the financial resources required to support individuals with special needs based on key financial information and projected life expectancy. Families can identify potential shortfalls in their ability to sustain the quality of life of the child with special needs long after the parents retire.

Families interested in learning more about this program can contact a Certified Special Needs Financial Solutions Advisor at 866.706.8321 or go to merrilledge.com for help. The Merrill Edge program is the latest in a companywide effort to better serve the needs of this community. Families with more complex special needs planning and financial needs will be connected, as appropriate, with a CSNA Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Financial Advisor.

12005, U.S. Census Special Report

* Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Braun Research conducted the Bank of America Merrill Edge Report survey by phone between Feb. 13 and Feb. 29, 2012 on behalf of Bank of America. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans in the United States with investable assets between $50,000 and $249,999, and oversampled 300 mass affluent in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample and +/- 5.7 percent for the oversample markets, with both reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

To help inform the Merrill Edge Report, Communispace conducted a series of qualitative studies including interactive conversations, surveys, and other dynamic and exploratory activities with its proprietary online community of 300 mass affluent consumers.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,700 retail banking offices and approximately 17,250 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves customers through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

www.bankofamerica.com

Merrill Edge is available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), and consists of the Merrill Edge Advisory Center (investment guidance) and self-directed online investing.

MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.

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Contacts

Reporters May Contact:
Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America, 1.980.387.4899
don.vecchiarello@bankofamerica.com

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Contacts

Reporters May Contact:
Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America, 1.980.387.4899
don.vecchiarello@bankofamerica.com