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The Garrett Group

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

It means everything to us
to earn our clients' trust.
In our fifth decade, we continue to deliver an extra measure of acumen and attention to the clients we serve - generations of families and entities that embrace our culture of transparency, reliability and integrity.


At The Garrett Group, we bring our extensive wealth management knowledge to a diverse clientele that appreciates our competency, care and consideration. It is with gratitude and respect that we continue to build on these relationships and welcome new clients to our practice.

Results and relationships throughout the U.S. matter to us – and to those we serve in the Atlanta area. The people we serve are active and retired – including male and female executives (many with Fortune 500 companies), successful business owners (many with 401k plans that we administer), attorneys and physicians. We also assist several non-profit endowments and foundations whose missions we have long supported.

Led by Mary Ellen Garrett, who founded our group at Merrill more than 35 years ago, we have cultivated an approach that places clients at the center of our concentrated efforts. We are proud to engage frequently in thought-provoking conversations that revolve around their families & interests, not just their finances. We feel it’s important to know what drives clients personally and financially.

Perhaps we’re old-fashioned, but we find there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings and talking to clients on a casual basis, not when the calendar says so. Through honest dialogue with both spouses, whenever possible – where we share our own stories and lessons learned – we work to help clients “see around corners” to prepare financially and emotionally for what they envision.

Our engagements span investment and retirement planning, tax-minimization and estate planning strategies. In addition, we provide clients with ready access to Bank of America, N.A. for traditional banking services, and in residential lending, treasury management, equipment financing and other forms of commercial lending. It is also our practice to be a “total resource” to clients and stay connected with their other trusted advisors, to include CPAs and attorneys.

We feel good knowing that our clients’ success has paralleled our own. Many of them have become our close friends. These natural connections inspire our best efforts.

Our Passion

At The Garrett Group, we are a family-focused team that truly cares about the impact of financial decisions on future generations. Each day, we guide families in exploring “facts and feelings,” as both are critical to formulating a strategy in synch with their financial goals.

Rather than see clients as similar to others, we recognize that each is unique. Therefore, our planning-based approach is customized for each family and presented in a logical and practical manner. As clients’ situations and ambitions evolve over the course of their lifetimes, we make sure to revisit and make adjustments when needed.

To learn, we ask questions of clients, “What is the purpose of your wealth? Why do you work so hard? Do you want to leave a family legacy? How do you want spend retirement years and where? Do you want to travel? What have you always wanted to do, that you don’t think you can?”

While most clients focus on years following their careers, many report that “retirement” doesn’t accurately reflect what they see as the next stage in their lives. They often define happiness in terms of new experiences, helping family and making a difference. They’re not retiring – they’re shifting gears and asking for our guidance to help solidify their financial foundations and identify new opportunities.

Regardless of our clients’ visions, we work to provide a clear assessment of where they stand in relation to their financial objectives and what steps should be taken to help achieve and protect what matters most to them. Our initial conversations may touch on personal and business circumstances, family issues, cash flow, investment goals, tax situations, legacy planning and titling of assets.

To help clients grow and preserve their assets in the most tax-efficient manner, we scrutinize how wealth is structured. After analyzing risk and opportunity, we take overall investment direction from our firm’s Chief Investment Office and engage with independent portfolio managers screened and vetted by Merrill. Ultimately, each client’s portfolio may include investments across asset classes and sectors – stocks, bonds and cash.

Having earned a reputation for being proactive and responsive to three and four generations of clients, we appreciate clients who place their trust in our discretion and ability to offer enlightened guidance. In each instance, we do (and say) what we believe is in a client’s best interest, even if straightforward suggestions may be difficult for them to hear.

*The Chief Investment Office (CIO) provides thought leadership on wealth management, investment strategy and global markets; portfolio management solutions; due diligence; and solutions oversight and data analytics. CIO viewpoints are developed for Bank of America Private Bank, a division of Bank of America, N.A., (“Bank of America”) and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S” or “Merrill”), a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice and is subject to change. It is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be either a specific offer by Bank of America, Merrill or any affiliate to sell or provide, or a specific invitation for a consumer to apply for, any particular retail financial product or service that may be available.

Serving Our Community

At The Garrett Group, we recognize that serving our community is a powerful and lasting way to serve clients. By “giving back,” we can help maintain vibrant, healthy neighborhoods and continue the valuable work of non-profit organizations – many of which our team supports. We also encourage our individual team members to support causes they find important.

Through volunteerism and charitable outreach, we currently support – or have supported – these economic, social and cultural endeavors:

Mary Ellen Garrett’s Community Involvement


  •  St. Joseph’s Health Systems: Vice Chair
  •  Atlanta Catholic Archdiocese: Chair Finance and Advisory Council & Past Chair Investment Committee


  •  United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta: Chair Alexis de Tocqueville Society
  •  United Way World Wide: Board Member
  •  Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta: Philanthropic Council
  •  Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Board Member
  •  The Carter Center: Board of Councilors
  •  Visions Anew: Advisory Board
  •  The Wellness Community: Advisory Board
  •  Marist School: Board Trustee
  •  Emory University: Board of Visitors
  •  Atlanta Girls School: Board Trustee
  •  Sandy Springs Youth Sports: Fund-Raising Chair
  •  St. Jude Catholic Church: Council Member
  •  Big Brothers Big Sisters: Board Member
  •  Mercy Care: Chair, Foundation Board


Patricia Townsend’s Community Involvement


  •  MOCA GA: Secretary & Board Member
  •  Most Valuable Kids Atlanta: Founding Board Member
  •  City Springs Theatre Company: Board Member


  •  Olmsted Plein Air: Patron Chair
  •  Alliance Theatre: Advisory Board Member

What To Expect

At The Garrett Group, we manage our clients’ wealth and expectations.

When asked, we characterize our offering as a rich repository of knowledge and best practices. While privacy is a pillar of our practice, we may share what others facing similar challenges are doing – when it can be beneficial. This leads to proven ideas for addressing situations and provides education that can help family members learn and prosper.

As our client, you can expect that we will:

• Serve as responsible stewards of your wealth – prioritizing your objectives and examining all areas of your financial picture – “goals and holes” that demand our attention. 

• Help you make informed decisions, not emotional ones. Our proactive efforts are meant to help you plan and prepare ahead of circumstances you foresee and those you don’t.

• Do our best work when your needs grow in complexity. We enjoy meeting challenges and stand ready to assist in a timely manner. The more you ask us to do, the more value we can deliver.

• Explain what actual outcomes look like – in simple terms, without needless financial jargon. Going beyond spreadsheets and simulations, we will illustrate real-world scenarios with you.

• Remind you to contact us with any financially related question. or if you need our opinion on a financial or life circumstance. We are here to deliver the perspective and time you need to make informed decisions that are wise and unhurried. We see ourselves as “life advisors” as much as “financial advisors.”

• Strive to help you optimize both sides of your balance sheet – assets and liabilities. We offer cash management and credit strategies, and access to specialists at Bank of America, N.A. for residential and securities-based lending solutions.

• Align our tax minimization and estate planning strategies with those of your CPA and attorney, or a professional we can recommend. When beneficial, we can also call upon our firm’s trust professionals to offer assistance.

• Invite you to events that, in the past, have included intimate dinners, concerts, museum visits, and golf tournaments. We are grateful to have celebrated countless occasions with clients, including their weddings, birthday and anniversary parties.

We rarely see situations we haven’t encountered. We feel fortunate to have long memories and relationships. It is our intention to help you benefit from others we’ve assisted in similar positions.


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.

Mary Ellen Garrett

Forbes "America's Top Women Wealth Advisors Best-in State" 2022
Published on February 4, 2022. Rankings based on data as of September 30, 2021.

Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisors" 2022
Published on April 7, 2022.  Rankings based on data as of June 30, 2021.

Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams” 2024
Published on January 12, 2024. Rankings based on data as of March 31, 2023.*

Kerry Senna

Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams” 2024
Published on January 12, 2024. Rankings based on data as of March 31, 2023.*

Patricia G Townsend

Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams” 2024
Published on January 12, 2024. Rankings based on data as of March 31, 2023.*

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.

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

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

      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.