Merrill Lynch: Supernova Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Organizational Issues and Problems

             Merrill Lynch is basically an advisory and financial management company. The company serves a broad range of customers including investors, institution and the government around the world. It was one of the largest broker dealer firms on Wall Street and also the largest financial services firm in the world. The client base of the company was large with around 550 clients per each of the financial advisor and as a result, it became very difficult to contact each and every client of the company by a single financial advisor. Furthermore, the meeting was not properly constructed and it resulted in the non-delivery of the information and shortage of time to contact from one end to another.

            As a result of these problems, an innovation was named with the name Supernova. Supernova is basically a new way of managing the relationships with the client that had emerged in one of the Indianapolis office of Merrill Lynch. Rob Knapp was the one who had first penned the idea of Supernova. The rationale behind the creation of the Supernova idea was that the financial advisors of the company had to contact their clients to inform them about the various products of the company and as a result they irritated the clients and the clients got dissatisfied. Through Supernova, the management could now find the right solution for its clients by transferring the right information at the right time regrind the range of the investment packages of the company.

            However, after the implementation of Supernova, a range of organizational issues were faced by the management and the employees of the company. The challenges faced by the company in the implementation of Supernova are as follows:

Economic Backdrop: Recession had hit the market in 2003 and Merrill Lynch had to face a very hard time. This was becoming a test for the company as the earnings of the company had started to decline.

Politics & Recognition: The reaction of the employees of the company was mixed. Some of the employees had positive views while other considered it worthless.

Organizational Leverage Point:There was no transparency felt by the financial advisors of the company whether all the solutions that they got from their managers were beneficial to them or to the managers themselves.

Follow-up/Support: The financial advisors of the company pose significant risks as some of the financial advisors had completely adopted Supernova, while majority of the financial advisors had adopted it partially. Full benefits could only be enjoyed when Supernova is adopted 100% around the organization.

Expectation of Clients: Supernova was effective in creating customer satisfaction, however a customer pyramid had been created and there was a difference in the satisfaction level between Supernova clients and non-supernova clients. Therefore, this created problems of measuring the customer satisfaction and the expectations of the clients had also increased significantly.

Changing roles of some of the financial advisors: The financial advisor of the company usually undertook a different approach towards their clients. Some of the financial advisors focused on recommending specific investments to their clients while some of the financial advisors considered their role of providing consultative services to their clients. They considered risks and rewards as opposed to selling a specific product to the clients.

Misapprehension: Most of the people were not fully aware of the services, product and the benefits of the use of Supernova and therefore, it created a knowledge gap among the people.

Nature of the financial advisors: The financial advisors loved their job as it offered them high independence and also got their personal space. Therefore, they did not liked any kind of lock in step and the recommendations that they receive from the central authority of the company usually is fought by them. This is the reason that the financial advisors made their decisions without taking any input from their administrative assistants also.

Metrics: Most of the financial advisors believed that they were not being paid under what they contribute through Supernova for selling high value assets such as the insurance and mortgages that had higher profitability for the company.

            Therefore, after analyzing all the above problems, devising specific solutions for each of the above listed problem and analyzing the future projections and data for the supernova, the client relationship group member of the company, Jim Walker will have to decide that whether the national roll out of supernova should be recommended or not........................

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