Henrik I Nielsen



The Grigorakis Nielsen Harding Group located in Mill Valley, just across the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, is one of the most highly-credentialed teams at Merrill Lynch, with several members holding professional designations such as the CFA®, CIMA® and CRPC®.

For over a decade, we have offered our distinctive brand of portfolio management and strategic wealth advisory to high-net-worth individuals, families, businesses, and organizations nation-wide as well as across the world, as one of select teams at Merrill Lynch that are credentialed to handle international relationships. In Merrill Lynch’s Investment Advisory Program, we have served for years as outside portfolio managers entrusted by other advisors to manage a portion of their clients’ capital. With a collective tenure of over 65 years in the financial services industry, as well as in-depth experience in advanced financial modeling and wealth structuring, we provide well-studied customized portfolios that help make a tangible positive difference in client lives.

The hallmark of our group’s mission is stewardship in wealth management. On the technical side, what truly sets us apart is encapsulated in our motto: We engineer investment pathways of high sustainability in every market environment. This entails a two-pronged approach:

First, most market participants approach investing like farmers—depending largely on the unpredictable harvest of each year’s market conditions in order to make any financial progress. Unfortunately, market vagaries abound, and challenges like adverse sequence of returns, bear markets, periods of economic stagnation and turmoil, or regimes of higher inflation and rising interest rates regularly thwart investors’ goals, dragging them through repeated cycles of boom and bust. As the unsuspected but diligent savers of the late 1990’s, the fresh retirees of 2000, and again of 2007, have come to discover (with countless others in-between), common-place investing indeed lacks common sense, because it relies on the kindness of the markets to realize investors' goals.|In contrast we represent investors in the markets more like engineers, working to coax out of the unpredictable market activity a higher-likelihood, more sustainable stream of economic benefits. We do that primarily through a suite of proprietary rules-based, market-adaptive, and risk-controlled investment strategies. We have developed those strategies over many years of intense, first-hand research to reflect the cutting-edge of the evolving academic knowledge as well as industry innovation. We blend those strategies synergistically in client portfolios alongside any other distinctive, value-add offerings we can source from across the entire industry, creating resilient nest-egg strategies that give investors higher confidence about meeting their long-term goals, irrespective of the market conditions.

Secondly, in addition to helping to ensure an adaptive market positioning, we use advanced computer-based models in developing a full-range financial strategy that incorporates all key elements of clients' financial lives. This includes banking services through Bank of America, N.A. and liability management (from home financing and credit lines to personal, family, and business financing), retirement savings (from simple IRAs, SEPs, 401K’s and Roth’s, to Defined Benefit plans and insured portfolios), wealth transition (including business exits and multi-generational wealth transfer), as well as philanthropic planning. Our members have rich backgrounds in strategic financial advisory, having served in high-profile roles with leading organizations and individuals, and this routinely places us at the center of clients’ family office, as an integral part of their innermost circle of trusted advisors.

Finally, all of us make an unwavering commitment to serving clients with complete dedication, uncompromised diligence, and warm, genuine care. We collectively speak more than nine languages, but primarily know how to listen. The clients we serve are part of our family and we take keen interest in being a resource that improves their lives. All team members are based in the Bay Area, but we travel extensively to see clients and interact with their other trusted advisors nationwide and around the world.

Kostas Grigorakis, CFA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Management Advisor
Senior Portfolio Manager

Kostas holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and is a graduate of Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (MA Magna Cum Laude and Doctorate Study). He has tenured as a research scientist in both Europe and the USA with peer-reviewed publications in three languages. Before joining Merrill Lynch he served with McKinsey & Company, the world’s leading management-consulting firm, where he advised Fortune 1000 companies on critical, large-scale financial decision-making; his largest engagement involved more than $11 billion.

Kostas holds a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation and is a member of the Securities Analysts of San Francisco Society, the second oldest such society in the USA.
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks of the CFA Institute.

Henrik I. Nielsen CIMA®, CRPC®
Vice President
International Wealth Management Advisor
Senior Portfolio Advisor

Henrik is an International Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch. He holds a Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation, and a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM certification.

Henrik has led several international business companies in capacities as CFO, CEO and currently serves on boards of 16 companies internationally. He is a graduate of La Commerciale (Switzerland), Loyola Marymount University, University of Delaware (recipient of Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award), with degrees in business, economics, and humanities.

Henrik is a member of the National Association of Business Economics, the Investments & Wealth Institute™ (The Institute)  and National Bureau of Ethics, and a lifetime inductee of the National Honor Society in Economics. 

Investments & Wealth Institute™ (The Institute) is the owner of the certification marks CIMA® and Certified Investment Management Analyst®.  Use of CIMA®, and/or Certified Investment Management Analyst® signifies that the user has successfully completed the Institute’s initial and ongoing credentialing requirements for investment management professionals
Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM and CRPC® are registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning.

Richard H. Harding
Vice President
Senior Financial Advisor

Richard has more than thirty years’ of capital markets and private client experience in the financial services industry, with a primary focus on serving first-generation wealth-creators and professionals. His tenure includes: Wealth Management Director (Western USA) for Citi Global Wealth Management, where he worked with clients of 100 million to over $10 billion networth; director of fixed-income and foreign exchange trading at Soros Fund Management; senior US fixed-income trader with Deutsche Bank Capital Markets; and leader of the HNW business development team for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Richard is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, London, NY, and San Francisco, member of the San Francisco Ballet Professional Advisors' Council, and board member American Conservatory Theater and American Associates of the National Theatre (London and New York).

A native of England, Richard now holds dual US and UK citizenship. He won an open scholarship to Cambridge University, where he earned his BA (Hons.) and then MA.

Chad Pate
Registered Client Associate

Chad's background is in banking and lending.

*Banking and Lending Services are through Bank of America, N.A.
*A Senior Portfolio Advisor can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis custom investment strategies, selecting from a wide range of Merrill Lynch model portfolios and third-party investment strategies.
*A Senior Portfolio Manager can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis his own personalized or defined strategies, which may incorporate individual stocks and bonds, Merrill Lynch model portfolios, and third-party investment strategies. A Senior Portfolio Manager may make their strategies available to clients working with other Merrill Lynch Advisors.

We are also involved in the communities in which we serve, volunteering leadership and staff for organizations involved with Bay Area non-profit organizations. Please contact us to learn more about how we work to make a positive impact on your financial life.


    English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish & Spanish


    Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium

    La Commerciale

    Loyola Marymount University

    University of Delaware

Professional Staff

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, my team is comprised of talented and experienced individuals committed to building strong client relationships based on trust and personalized service.

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.

Paul G Stauffer

Paul G Stauffer

Trust Specialist

Brett K VanderGeest

Brett K VanderGeest

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer NMLS # 851286

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


My mission is to understand you and your priorities. To take the time, to ask hard, smart questions and to listen carefully, then to understand, in great detail, exactly where your wealth stands today, and where you'd like it to be tomorrow. I help you design, implement and periodically monitor a customized wealth management strategy that helps you and your family pursue your personal financial goals while managing investment risk. My wealth management approach is about using wealth to help turn goals into reality.


I believe the best financial strategy 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. Worried about managing 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? With access to the investment insights of Merrill and the banking convenience of Bank of America, I will work with you to develop strategies designed to help address your financial needs.


I begin every relationship with a conversation, helping you identify and prioritize which goals matter most to you. Whether it's transferring wealth to the next generation, customizing financial strategies 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.

Drawing upon research in the field of behavioral finance, Merrill developed the Investment Personality Assessment to help me get to know you better as an investor and help you refine your investing preferences. By gaining a deeper understanding of how you think and feel about investing, through this assessment I can customize financial strategies together. Using an understanding of your priorities and investment personality as a foundation, I help you access the full breadth of resources from Bank of America’s banking products and services and Merrill’s investment insights to address all aspects of your financial life.


My process is designed to help deliver a customized, consistent experience to assist clients not only in wealth accumulation and preservation, but in areas that go beyond investment management. My ability to provide access to the investment insights of Merrill, as well as banking, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America offers a way to help clients manage all of the pieces of their financial lives. I view myself as a financial resource, helping clients with strategies for transferring wealth to the younger generation.

Focus On Individuals and Families

I work primarily with high-net-worth individuals and families. I’ll begin by getting to know you as we explore the following seven priorities together:

  • 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

I work closely with other trusted professionals to help clients pursue their goals, drawing on the investment insights of Merrill and access to the banking convenience of Bank of America as we do so.


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 strategy 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 give you a sense of the full assessment and 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 strategy.

Your Financial Strategy

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill, as well as banking, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America to help you pursue your goals. We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.

Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Trust & Estate Services2
  • Education Funding Strategies1
  • Insurance3
Planning for healthcare expenses now and in the future
  • Long-term Care Insurance3
  • Health Savings Account2
  • Disability Insurance3
Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Home Loans2
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Credit Cards2
Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Bank of America Business Banking2
  • Exchange Funds1
  • Concentrated Stock Management1
  • Succession Planning1
Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Credit Cards2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Structured Lending2
Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Donor-Advised Funds2
  • Private Foundations2
  • Charitable Trusts2
Using your finances to bring it all together
  • Merrill Lynch Investment Accounts1
  • Investment Advisory Accounts1
  • Alternative Investments1
  • Exchange-Traded Funds1
  • Mutual Funds1
  • Closed-end Funds1
  • Fixed Income Products1
  • Options1
  • Annuities3
  • Impact Portfolios1
  • Market-Linked Investments1
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Margin1
  • Home Loans2
  • Bank of America Checking and Savings Accounts2
  • Credit Cards2
  • Online Account Access1,2

1Investment products are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
2Banking products are offered by Bank of America, N.A.
3Insurance and annuity products offered through Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.

Staying on Track

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

Regular reviews to help you stay on track
Regular reviews to help you stay on track

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

    Monitoring changes in your life and to your goals
    Monitoring changes in your life and to your goals

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

    Access to what you need, when you need it

    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

      *Peace of mind is an aspirational state of mind that clients hope to achieve. There are no guaranteed results following completion of the Goals-Based Wealth Management process because markets can fluctuate and investments can lose value. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors work with clients to help them understand how the goals based wealth management process can help to address their concerns, financial situation and priorities.

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      Helping you reach your goals starts with getting to know you personally. Through understanding what matters most to you, I can help you create a financial strategy that reflects your personality. Only then can I offer an approach that is built around your life priorities and the ongoing advice you need to help you manage fluctuations in the market and changes in your life. Let’s work together to help you achieve your goals.

      Why Merrill Lynch?

      As Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors, we will sort through the financial complexities of your life, helping you build a customized investment strategy to 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.

      Personalized advice from a dedicated financial advisor.

      Getting to know you is our primary goal.

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

      Drawing from our experience and the best thinking of Merrill, we will build a strategy that reflects your unique needs, priorities and financial situation.

      Adjusting your plan as your life and the markets change.

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