Investing: Where do I even start?

In this #WomenInvested Meet Up, hear tips on how to begin your investing journey – or take it to the next level

Watch now

Investing: Where do I even start?

In this #WomenInvested Meet Up, hear tips on how to begin your investing journey – or take it to the next level

Watch now

Merrill Lynch

The SBRG Group

Wealth Management Advisors

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

Our highly credentialed team delivers an uncommon level of knowledge and know-how to clients – many whose entrepreneurial spirit has brought them success and the need for thoughtful retirement planning strategies.


At The SBR Group, we find ourselves in a different position than most other advisory groups. Rather than trying to be “everything to everyone,” we are proud to be the right team for an impressive circle of self-made women and men – active and retired – as well as generations of their families, and non-profit organizations in Salinas, Carmel, Gilroy, and across Central California.

Specifically, we serve a loyal and growing clientele that shares an entrepreneurial mindset. Most are accomplished business owners, agricultural executives, farmers, physicians and attorneys. Many are ready to move from a “working life” to a long-anticipated retirement lifestyle.

While our clients have succeeded in building their enterprises, they’ve reached a point when they need professional and proactive guidance in helping with their retirement planning. Additionally, because their business and personal lives intersect financially, we assist with both – and in many cases, provide hands-on assistance with their 401k and defined benefit plans. In fact, we provide plan design and implementation for more than 100 business owners.

More than 70 years of collective experience tells us that the quality of our advice is only as effective as the questions we ask. That’s why we help clients articulate and answer, “What is the real purpose of your wealth? Who are you responsible for? What do you envision five years from now? And, when everything falls into place, will you sit in a rocking chair or follow your favorite rock band?”

Based on what we hear from clients (and often, what we don’t hear), we formulate tailored, multi-pronged strategies meant not only to preserve their assets (with an eye toward tax efficiency and consistent cash flow) – but, to put those assets to work, often in ways they never thought possible. 

With several industry credentials between us – including the CPFA, C(k)P® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® certifications – we have honed a fluid planning-based approach that brings clients our extensive knowledge in the areas of investment and portfolio management, as well as 401(k) and retirement planning.

Due to the longevity of our client relationships and the ages of those we serve, we have structured our multi-generational team accordingly. In fact, the ages of our highly credentialed advisors and support staff align nicely with clients and their family members. As a team, we feel privileged to help enhance clients’ wealth and well being – as it moves across stages of their careers and generations. Ultimately, we judge ourselves not by the assets we manage, but by the lives we touch.



At The SBR Group, our mission is to summon our wealth of knowledge and complementary skillsets to create uncommon value for clients and their families. The quality and longevity of our client relationships remind us of the roles we play and the trust we’ve earned.

Each of us is inspired by a family’s story of financial and personal achievement. Our job is to make sure that wealth and wisdom are passed along to future generations.

Rather than wait for clients to encounter decisions that we can foresee, we stand behind them by getting out in front of circumstances they anticipate and those they don’t. Doing so allows us to present thoughtful recommendations with sufficient time for them to decide how to proceed.

A hallmark of our process is our planning-based approach. Its success rests on our ability to have frank conversations with clients, and often learn what they’ve never shared with others. From the outset of each relationship, we ask questions – some expected, some not, “What would need to happen for you to feel successful three years from now? What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you expect from us?”

As our client, you can expect that we will:

• Examine your full financial picture, to help enhance your financial wellness. We will scrutinize your liabilities (including mortgages, other loans and credit card debt), tax liability, insurance coverage, Social Security and long-term-care issues, and estate planning documents.

• Strive to help you feel comfortable – financially and emotionally. That’s why our strategies are presented and communicated in an uncomplicated manner.

• Deliver the vast resources and support of specialists throughout Merrill and the banking convenience of Bank of America, N.A. On a daily basis, we offer what we call “more, better, and easier” access to residential and securities-based lending, refinancing, commercial lending, cash management, insurance planning, and trust and estate planning strategies.

• Work closely with you and spouse, your grown children and others you designate – on matters related to wealth transfer, trust and estate planning strategies. And because wise financial habits should be taught to your children, we can talk to them about buying a home or car, and the importance of saving and investing.

We will also remind you to leave memories, not just money – that it’s important to find joy along the path to meaningful outcomes. In these conversations, we may ask what you define as your life’s most rewarding moments to date.

*Merrill Life Agency's California License Number 0522776


At The SBR Group, we cater to business owners and executives whose passions and perseverance have brought them significant wealth and expectations. 

With the majority of clients focused squarely on running their companies and the financial risks they take each day, we follow suit. Beyond keeping pace with the rigor of their circumstances, we help them anticipate change, benefit from fresh ideas, or focus on personal passions.

Where do we begin? With straightforward discussions with clients. Some thought-provoking question we ask, “If your portfolio were all cash, where would you begin today? And which bucket, for example, would you use to pay for long-term care insurance, or a health emergency?” Our mission is help clients appreciate the scope of their financial life and the value of focusing on aspects that may have been ignored previously.

What questions do we hear from clients? “When do you think I can retire? Am I on track to maintain my lifestyle in retirement? Will I be able to take my family on that once-in-a-lifetime trip?” To provide accurate answers, we examine changes that may be needed in clients’ spending and saving habits, in their portfolios, or in their timelines.

A critical area that clients don’t often consider is the status of liabilities and use of credit. To that point, we are highly skilled and motivated to identify needs and opportunities on both sides of their balance sheets. In addition to recommending ways to consolidate debt, we provide access to residential and securities-based lending, treasury management, checking and savings solutions, business financing, and other forms of commercial lending. Our numerous contacts within the firm include small business bankers, trust specialists and others we “bring to the table” on behalf of clients.

 When it comes to investing, we take a team approach in discussing strategies for each client and pinpointing what we believe is the ideal path forward. Utilizing in-depth Merrill research and model portfolios – along with select external resources – we customize each client’s portfolio with investments across asset classes, sectors and borders. We may also recommend alternative investments* which allow clients to benefit from non-correlated assets that we deem attractive and likely to offer reduced volatility.

With tax consequences always a priority for clients in California, we often coordinate with their CPAs and attorneys to align tax-minimization and estate planning strategies.

In addition to our team’s insights, we allow clients to benefit from dozens of others we’ve assisted in similar positions. We feel fortunate to have long memories and relationships. Speaking for our entire team we are proud of the trust we earn from clients – many who refer their family members, friends and associates to our team of dedicated professionals.


*Some or all alternative investment programs may not be in the best interest of certain investors. No assurance can be given that any alternative investment’s investment objectives will be achieved.
*Banking and Lending Services are through Bank of America, N.A.
*Any information presented in connection with BofA Global Research is general in nature and is not intended to provide personal investment advice. The information does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any specific person who may receive it. Investors should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. BofA Global Research is research produced by BofA Securities, Inc. (“BofAS”) and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofAS is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation. BofA Global Research does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.
*Merrill Life Agency's California License Number 0522776


Many clients of The SBR Group are about to go from a demanding work schedule to a well-deserved retirement lifestyle. Others have already retired or handed over their companies.

With a large number of clients looking to defer income, minimize tax consequences, and “do right” by their employees, we help them select the ideal building blocks for a group benefit plan. In fact, one area for which we’ve received the many referrals is helping business owners navigate the selection and implementation of group retirement plans.

Among our clients’ objectives: Greater cost efficiencies, more investment choices, improved employee education, and more reliable guidance on government regulations than they’ve received previously.

To reflect our devotion to educating plan sponsors and helping them uphold their fiduciary responsibilities, our team has received a high level of training. Two of our advisors hold the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor, CPFA designation, one holds the title of Retirement Benefits Consultant (RBC), and one holds the C(k)P® Certified 401(k) Professional Designation.

Many plans we review were designed years ago, perhaps, at a start-up phase. We discover that clients often pay more than necessary, for fewer benefits. Upon examination – and thanks to our firm’s powerful platform – we may be able to reduce costs while delivering a high-caliber client experience for principals and employees. In addition to our knowledge and skills, we deliver the resources and thought leadership of Bank of America and its affiliates. This comprehensive approach helps clients provide a strong, healthy and fully compliant program that runs smoothly, engages employees, and simplifies the sponsor’s role.

Through Merrill Fiduciary Plan Services, our firm will accept ERISA 3(21) or 3(38) fiduciary responsibility for investment advice and recommendations made in the best interest of your plan Investment Policy Statement (IPS)* and investment menu design based on your plan goals and participant needs. We can also provide comprehensive due diligence processes to identify appropriate investment opportunities, as well as proactive delivery – online or through us – of in-depth investment performance reporting each quarter.

In addition to coordinating with you, we will suggest enrollment meetings with your employees and one-to-one meetings with them, thereafter. Our firm’s resources and expertise are designed to help meet your employees’ financial needs in ways that make sense for your company — strategically, operationally and financially.

Meet the Team

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, our 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.

Iris Cueto

Wealth Management Banking Specialist


Samantha C Sylvester

Wealth Strategies Advisor

Bank of America, N.A.

Thomas Brousek

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #633264

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.

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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.


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

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      We 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. We 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.