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The Porter Group

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The Porter Group

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

We understand that life is dynamic and complex at times. Our job is to listen, educate and work with you along your financial journey. By connecting all of the pieces of your financial affairs, we can help navigate the complexities that accompany significant wealth and create a blueprint toward living your life the way you want to live it.
Guidance Based on Decades of Experience

Since our founding in 1982, members of our team have been helping a broad spectrum of clients at various stages in their lives navigate the complexities of their wealth. With more than 125 years of collective experience, each member of our five-person, multigenerational team stands ready to help you make informed financial decisions.

Going beyond portfolio management, we offer wide-ranging strategies that can give you greater freedom to pursue the things in life you most enjoy. Whatever your goals may be, we can help you determine strategies designed to help you achieve them.

We are proud of our ability to maintain close, constructive relationships with people throughout Illinois and other parts of the country. With extensive backgrounds in administration and operations, our team members all share a dedication to enhancing your financial decision making though quality service and advice.

Dedication, Experience and Education

We’ve worked hard to build a team with knowledge and experience that upholds our commitment to outstanding wealth management. The age span of our team members gives us the ability to meet a variety of financial needs that may occur during the various stages of your life and the lives of your children, grandchildren and parents. 

We are proud that in 2021, our team leader, Steven Porter, was recognized in Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list, and Barron’s “America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors: State-by-State” list in 2019. We use our collective knowledge, acquired through years of real-world experience, extensive training and professional credentials, including the CFP® certification and CRPC® designation, to stay at the forefront of industry updates and best practices. We believe our intellectual capital and disciplined, long-term wealth management approach can help you navigate financial challenges throughout ever-changing business and economic cycles.

*Source: The Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisors" list, February 11, 2021. For more information about the selection criteria, go to Forbes is a trademark of Forbes Media LLC. All rights reserved. These rankings and ratings are not representative or indicative of any one client's experience, future performance, or investment outcome, and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor.

*Source: Barron's "Top 1,200 Financial Advisors" list, March 11, 2019.  For more information about the selection criteria, go to Barron's is a trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. These rankings and ratings are not representative nor indicative of any one client's experience, future performance, or investment outcome and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor.


How We Approach Your Needs 

Our approach to wealth management begins with a probing, in-depth review. We listen intently to get a clear understanding of your true goals, and what really matters to you. Together, we will explore a broad range of topics that are likely to influence your financial future — from your family situation to your career aspirations to the retirement you ultimately envision. What we learn will become the foundation for a strategy based on who you are and where you want to go.

No two clients are the same, and we recognize that your circumstances, needs and aspirations are exclusive to you. We firmly believe that your wealth management strategy should be inspired by your goals and objectives and customized in a way to help you achieve them. That’s why we take into account the full spectrum of your personal wants and desires to create a strategy uniquely designed for you.

Expanded Capabilities

The breadth of our practice includes services that can help meet your most complex wealth management needs.

Strategic Execution Across Generations

We take the time to build relationships with multiple generations of your family. Our goal is for them to have the continuity of advisors they can turn to for advice and guidance about their wealth management. Working with specialists from Merrill, and in coordination with your attorneys and accountants, we can help you develop a current and efficient estate planning strategy. We can advise you on trust investments, charitable giving strategies, life insurance and other sophisticated strategies to help you pass on your wealth in a desirable and tax-efficient manner.

Learning What Retirement Means To You

One of the most important functions we undertake is to help clients prepare for “what’s next.” After identifying your goals for retirement, we can help determine if your retirement assets will be able to generate enough income to support the lifestyle you desire, keep pace with inflation, meet unforeseen healthcare costs and weather downturns in the financial markets. Working together, we can help create a customized retirement income portfolio that may include stocks, bonds, cash, annuities or alternative investments*, if appropriate, to help you achieve your goals for the future. 

*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.


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.

Steven K Porter

Barron’s 2017 “America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors: State-by-State”

Barron’s America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in 2008 and 2009.

Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors”  in 2018, 2020, and 2021.

Forbes’ “America’s Top Wealth Advisors” in  in 2016 and 2017.

Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.

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.

Your Financial Approach

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, 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 Planning Services4
  • Education Funding1
  • 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 Funds4
  • Private Foundations4
  • Charitable Trusts4
Using your finances to bring it all together
  • Merrill 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

1 Investment products are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
2 Banking, mortgage and home equity products offered by Bank of America, N.A.
3 Insurance and annuity products offered through Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.
4 Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America Private Bank.

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.

      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.