In a first, brokers with a major national firm, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC), are selling an investment long associated solely with independent-contractor broker-dealers: Nontraded real estate investment trusts.

The firm's 17,500 registered representatives and advisers a month ago began selling the Jones Lang LaSalle Income Property Trust (JLL).

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the first major wirehouse to sell such trusts and has so far raised about $50 million from clients.