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Merrill is proud of our advisors who’ve received recognition from financial industry publications or directly from Bank of America Corporation. We believe they are setting the standard for exemplary client service.

H. Lawson Hembree


The Lawson Hembree Group

The Lawson Hembree Group advise our clientele of business owners, executives, professionals, retirees and their families, foundations and other non-profit groups. As a wealth management advisory team, we work together with clients to understand their goals for their families and their wealth.  We then collaborate with them and their professional advisors to develop and manage customized strategies to support achieving these goals.

As financial markets have grown and evolved, financial decisions have become increasingly more complex.  Therefore, it is important that clients work with a trusted team of advisors who have knowledge, experience and access to robust research and investment vehicles as well as a broad range of financial strategies.  We feel this approach gives clients the confidence that their goals will be achieved – from funding education expenses, to planning for retirement, from growing a business to selling a business,  from providing for unforeseen events to leaving a philanthropic legacy, we can help you get started today.

H. Lawson Hembree, CPWA  CEPA  
Senior Vice President
Wealth Management Advisor

Lawson joined Merrill in 2009.  His career began in banking and finance working for Citicorp (USA), Inc. and Merchants National Bank.  For the eleven years prior to joining Merrill he was part of several family-owned businesses.  Lawson has a BSA degree from the University of Arkansas and his Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.  He is active in the community serving on the board of John Brown University.  Lawson has previously served in leadership positions on the boards of Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, the Fort Smith United Way, Arkansas Cancer Research Center Foundation Board, the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation Board, the University of Arkansas Alumni Association, Campaign Arkansas for the University of Arkansas, Southern Region, Boy Scouts of America, Mercy Fort Smith Medical Center, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and the Arkansas Angus Association.

Working with business owners, executives, professionals, retirees and their families and foundations, Lawson capitalizes on his own experiences as a business owner as well as his professional training to advise and guide our clients on all aspects of their financial needs.  Lawson feels that the breadth and depth of his financial training combined with his experience as a business owner differentiate him.  It has also given him the experience of working firsthand with a network of professional advisors.  Lawson holds the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designation and the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation.

Kerry Franklin, CFP® RMA®    Kerry 7.jpg
Assistant Vice President
Wealth Planner

Kerry has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Arkansas State University.  She began her career in manufacturing accounting, then as the Business Administrator for a local church in Fort Smith prior to joining Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.  She has served as a volunteer for CASA, Habitat for Humanity, and Children’s Service League.  Among the reasons she chose to join the financial services industry is her desire to help others.  This passion to help stems from her experience and the financial challenges she has watched friends and families experience in the past. As witness to the challenges faced by important people in her life, she recognized the need for a professional and caring team to help others realize the life they want.  Her purpose is to help others define their goals, establish a wealth management strategy centered on their priorities, and then help them to adjust their strategy as needed, as the inevitable changes in life occur.  Kerry is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and holds the Retirement Manager Advisor designation.

*Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in the U.S.

Alicia Lester  Alicia.jpg
Wealth Management Client Associate 
Alicia has more than 10 years of experience working with clients in the financial services industry.  This experience was gained while working with Bank of America in Home Loans, Credit Cards, Deposits, and Fraud before joining Merrill in May of 2019.   Alicia is the point person for our MyMerrill online experience and in helping to make sure all our client’s service requests are met.

Alicia is from Muldrow, Oklahoma.  She enjoys spending time with her family and anything basketball.  She travels often to games to support her family and for entertainment.


    Southern Methodist University

    University of Arkansas Fayetteville

Additional Resources

The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.

Kellen Taylor

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


Daniel Scalley

Wealth Strategist


Joshua H Jasien

Market Linked Investments Specialist

Bank of America, N.A.

Where do we begin? It starts with you.

At Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, your financial advisor focuses on the things you care about most- family, goals and priorities - even as they change over the years.

Understanding Your Life


As a Merrill advisor, I offer advice and guidance based on you and your family's goals and priorities. We put you at the center of our focus -- not the markets -- so you can better understand the pros and cons of every decision you make. As your needs or market conditions change, I can work together with you to adjust your plan as needed.


I believe the best financial approach is the one that helps you pursue your goals. That's why, from the start, we talk about your aspirations and encourage you to ask questions about issues that matter most to you. Calculating how to manage future health care expenses? College on the horizon? Considering the sale of a business or purchase of a home? Preparing to pass your wealth to future generations? It all starts with a plan intended to help you manage, grow, and preserve your wealth today, while also considering the impact it can have for years to come. With access to the investment insights of Merrill and banking solutions from Bank of America, I will work with you to develop an approach designed to help address your financial needs.


Every relationship begins with a conversation, helping you identify and prioritize which goals matter most to you. Whether it's transferring wealth to the next generation, customizing your financial approach to help you pursue your passions, or providing advice and guidance to help you stay informed, I start by listening to learn more about you and your family.

Your approach to investing

Drawing upon research in the field of behavioral finance, Merrill developed the Investment Personality Assessment to help us get to know you better as an investor and potentially help you refine your own investing preferences. By gaining a deeper understanding of how you think and feel about investing through this assessment, we can customize the financial approach we develop together to help you pursue what matters most to you. Our Investment Personality Assessment is one of the ways to help us get to know you - to understand your goals and priorities. These questions will help us provide you with additional insights and resources.

Understanding your goals and priorities

Your life and goals change. We have tools to help you keep track of these changes so they can be reflected in your financial approach.


Merrill’s process is designed to help deliver a customized, comprehensive experience to assist you not only in wealth accumulation and preservation, but in areas that go beyond investments. Providing you with access to the investment insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking and lending solutions of Bank of America offers a way to help you manage all of the pieces of your financial life. Working one-on-one with a Merrill advisor means you have a single point of contact to help you with potential strategies for transferring wealth to the younger generation.

Focus On Individuals, Families and Small Businesses

I believe that financial success can be achieved when you’re able to make investment-related decisions and trade-offs that can help you reach personally meaningful goals. Whether you’re planning your retirement, saving to buy a home or funding a child’s education, the process begins by getting to know you and how you feel about the following:

  • Health: Managing healthcare expenses, now and in the future
  • Home: Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Family: Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Leisure: Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Giving: Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Work: Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Finance: Bringing it all together and defining your financial goals

Success will be measured by the amount of progress you are making toward reaching your goals, making thoughtfully considered adjustments as events and conditions warrant.

This material should be regarded as general or educational information on healthcare or Social Security considerations and is not intended to provide specific healthcare or social security advice. If you have questions regarding your particular situation, please contact your legal or tax advisor.

Staying on Track

We understand that both your life and the financial markets can change over time. By checking in to discuss changes in your life and revisiting your financial approach, our goal is to help you stay on track to achieve what's most important to you.

Reviews to help you
stay on track

We’ll meet with you to review your goals and the progress you’ve made toward reaching them. We’ll also discuss any adjustments needed to your financial approach to help you stay on course.

    Changes in your life
    and to your goals

    Your life and goals change. As these changes occur, we can update your approach to reflect them.


    MyMerrill is your online destination for access to your financial information, secure communications, and a robust offering of tools and capabilities.

    Your advisor is a click away within our site or mobile apps

    You can manage account security with our customizable security capabilities such as touch ID, one time passcode, and other security features

    Access to your complete financial life is available with My Financial Picture, Merrill’s asset aggregation tool

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      I believe it’s important that you seek the advice and guidance of an experienced financial advisor who can thoughtfully analyze your situation, work with you to identify potential solutions that address your needs, and clearly communicate them to you. I want to work with you to develop your wealth management approach for the future.

      Why Merrill?

      As Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors, we will sort through the financial complexities of your life, helping you build a customized investment approach to address your needs and pursue your goals.


      We put you first, every day.
      Learn more about the dedicated one-on-one relationship you can have with a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor.

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      Transcript of Video 

      No question too big or moment too small
      For every question you have, every decision you make and every answer you need, we are with you to listen and help guide you along the many paths your life can take. Watch this video to see some questions we can address together.

      The Power of the Right Advisor®
      Working with a dedicated Merrill advisor means you get personalized investment strategies from Merrill plus access to comprehensive financial solutions only Bank of America can deliver.

      Personalized advice from a dedicated financial advisor.

      We get to know you and your family, your financial situation and what matters most to you.

      A comprehensive approach, built around your life’s priorities.

      Drawing from our experience and the best thinking of Merrill, together we will design an approach that reflects your unique needs, priorities and financial situation.

      Adjusting your investment approach as your life and the markets change.

      We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.