The CGO Group

Merrill Lynch

The CGO Group

Wealth Management Group
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Knowing clients on a deeply personal level allows us to deliver more genuine, real-world wealth management.
Our goal?  To help clients enjoy the people and passions that bring meaning to their lives.

The CGO Group


At The CGO Group, we have a proud heritage and a growing clientele. While the ages and stages of clients’ financial lives span generations and the nation’s geography, a majority of those served by Brian Coulter and Jennifer Grayson are active and retired executives whose achievements in the corporate sector and passions for the Savannah lifestyle continue to bring them joy.

In addition to a concentration of male and female executives, we proudly serve former military officers, retired couples, widows, and generations of families that have long called Savannah their home, as well as others who’ve moved here. Beyond risk-managed investing and 360-degree wealth management, our roles as financial advisors often evolve to be clients’ good friends – hosting oyster roasts, golf clinics and movie theater days, educating their children, and celebrating their birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

Why do clients come to us? We believe they hear about the genuine care and focus we provide. While clients have accumulated wealth, many with stock options and 401k assets, for example, hire us when they “know what they don’t know.” We find that clients value our acumen and attention. Without the time or desire to make complex decisions on their own, they typically turn to us when retirement questions and considerations take precedent.

As Brian and Jennifer explain, “The stories we hear from clients – about their lives and livelihoods – inspire us. We learn from clients, as we expect they learn from us. They’ve seen our children grow up and vice versa. It’s our privilege to connect the dots in their financial lives and connect them with Realtors, CPAs, attorneys, and physicians, when helpful. We truly welcome the opportunity to build a relationship with you, as well – one that brings you financial, personal and emotional benefits.”

Caring for Clients

At The CGO Group, we’re at our best serving as each client’s ready resource – on retirement, legacy and longevity planning, and issues that revolve around aging, Social Security, Medicare and insurance. For decades, we’ve proactively assisted clients in clarifying goals that align with their core values. It feels good to serve clients who value our involvement in their lives and integrity in serving their best interests.

Everything we do for clients begins with our goals-based, planning process. And it’s not a one-time event. Throughout each relationship, new insights about a client continue to give us direction. No two clients are identical and neither are the strategies we create. By listening closely to what clients say (and often don’t say), we can address their evolving concerns and aspirations.

Among the questions we may ask: “What keeps you up at night? Are you worried about medical expenses or outliving your money? What are your plans for travel and/or visiting family? How do you fund medical expenses? Do you have long-term care insurance? We also provide clients with a worksheet to determine their expenses. In addition, we run a full analysis of those expenses vs. income.

At clients’ most challenging times – the loss of a spouse, a family’s member’s illness, or divorce – we devote ourselves to serving their emotional wellbeing. By helping clients make unhurried and conscious financial decisions, we can help them regain confidence in building, spending and/or sharing their wealth.

With our banking pedigrees and close relationship with a local branch of Bank of America, N.A., we offer streamlined access to residential and securities-based lending. We also provide wire transfers, monitor clients’ credit card activity when they travel, order checks and more.

And because legacy planning can be daunting and expensive, we sit with clients and “map out” questions that an attorney may ask. We also can coordinate with clients’ attorneys and our firm’s specialists – to align strategies that put everyone (including you and your family) on the same page.

At The CGO Group, we’re here to help clients enjoy the rewards of a fulfilling life. It has long been our mission to provide the type of wealth management that brings clients a positive outlook, memorable experience, and desired results.

Retiring with a Plan

At the CGO Group, we believe that our insights, knowledge and know-how contribute to our retired clients’ sense of financial independence and confidence. By recognizing each client’s desires and family dynamics, we can bring clarity to clients and ourselves. Only then, can we help clients navigate a rewarding journey up to and through retirement.

Through our planning-based approach, we help our retired clientele – or couples about to retire – envision likely and unlikely circumstances. We provoke discussion about clients’ goals for themselves and their children. We also help clients get a stronger grasp of Social Security, long-term-care, Medicare, liability management and wealth transfer issues. In all cases, we make sure that both spouses can freely express their comfort with investment risk and the lifestyles they envision.

When it comes to investments, we use Merrill Lynch research and model portfolios to formulate what we consider to be simple strategies for diversifying a client’s portfolio across asset classes and sectors. As we say, “If we can’t explain it to a client in simple terms, we shouldn’t do it.” That’s why we often use a blend of best ideas from external money managers, along with mutual funds, ETFs and laddered bonds.

How do we gauge the satisfaction of our retired clientele? With two forms of measurement:

First, if clients call regularly to ask our thoughts on financial decisions, that’s a big positive. Second, if clients do not call when markets are turbulent, that means we’ve helped them appreciate their long-term investment strategy – what they own, why they’re diversified, and why their time is better spent focusing on the joys in their lives.

For nearly 20 years, we’ve worked closely with clients – providing asset growth that has exceeded the rate of inflation. In each relationship, we strive to provide full transparency, clear communication and helpful education – three elements we believe are at the core of a strong advisor-client relationship.

*Any information presented in connection with BofA Merrill Lynch 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 Merrill Lynch Global Research is equity research produced by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and/or one or more of its non-U.S. affiliates. BofA Merrill Lynch 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. 

Meet the Team

Supported by the global resources of Merrill Lynch, 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 Financial Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.

Jeffrey Schroeder

Jeffrey Schroeder

Wealth Management Banking Specialist

Ryan M Thrower

Ryan M Thrower

Trust Specialist

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Mary Johnson

Wealth Management Lending Officer NMLS # 664330

Your Financial Strategy

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill Lynch, trust and fiduciary services from U.S. Trust, and the banking convenience of 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 give you peace of mind* that you're on track to help 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.

  • Sample client review agenda
  • Sample Wealth Outlook Report
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 destination for access to your financial information, secure communications, and a robust offering of tools and capabilities.

  • Your advisor is never more than a click away within our site or mobile apps
  • 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 Lynch’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. 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, we can help you create a financial strategy that reflects your personality. Only then can we 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 financial 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 financial advisor.

Transcript of Video 

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 Lynch, 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.