No. of Recommendations: 1
3. He seemed to be pretty carefree about the idea of me moving my money to another provider. i.e. it was my money, and he was essentially only here if I really wanted someone to help me manage my money, rebalance my accounts based on markets and future predictions, etc. In other words, if I didn't have time to be a full time market watcher, that's what he does.

You don't need to be a fulltime market watcher. There are plenty of "couch potato" portfolios that only need your attention once a year. Take 10 minutes of your time once a year and save the XX% that you'd be paying to Merril.

4. He explained that 60% of the funds he was putting me into were actively managed by proven PMs. The idea wasn't so much to beat the indexes when the market was going well, but to know when to move money to cash when black swan events occur. Minimizing damage.
Yup, that's the plan. That and blowing smoke up your a**. As Mike Tyson said, "Everybody's got a plan -- until they get punched in the mouth." Ask him what his "proven PMs" did in mid September 2008.
The market lost 29% from Sept 18 to Oct 27.
I assure you that the PMs that I use for one of my accounts didn't see that coming.

Make him show you a 5-10 year chart comparing his recommend funds vs. the S&P500. Not the "10 year return"---the chart showing daily prices. When the S&P takes a dive, do his funds stay flat?

I understand what he is saying, but on the same token, don't PM's miss the upswings as well because they are always hedging somewhat?
The charts will show if this happens.
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