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

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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.

Lisa A Morrison

Forbes "America's Top Women Wealth Advisors" 2021
Published on March 24, 2021. Rankings based on data as of September 30, 2020.

Forbes "America's Top Women Wealth Advisors" 2020
Published on April 21, 2020. Rankings based on data as of September 30, 2019.

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 Advisors" 2021
Published on February 11, 2021. Rankings based on data as of June 30, 2020.

N Sean Longo

Forbes "Best-in-State Next-Generation Wealth Advisors 2019
Published on September 4, 2019. Rankings based on data as of March 31, 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.

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


At The Morrison, Longo and De Stefano Group, we deliver “meaning and metrics” to an impressive clientele that spans generations and the nation’s geography. For individuals and families that seek a deeper understanding of their wealth and its opportunities, our highly regarded and accomplished advisors work tirelessly to help them make enlightened decisions and understand the benefits of following a mutually-agreed upon strategy.


Who do we serve? People who are diverse in their achievements, motivations and missions – successful corporate executives at pharmaceutical firms and elsewhere (many with concentrated positions), business owners (up to and thru key liquidity events), physicians, attorneys and their families. We also assist a growing number of “up and coming” clients who are accumulating wealth and want guidance on putting it to work.


While distinct in their financial requirements, our largely referred clientele comes to us with complex situations and challenges that demand our most inspired efforts. In many cases, clients had left a previous advisor seeking a more attentive wealth management experience.


By intentionally serving a limited number of households, we can engage more frequently in thought-provoking discussions that revolve around clients’ interests, not just their finances. We feel it’s important to know in our hearts what drives and concerns clients, without having to consult our notes.

As an established team that has managed clients’ money and emotion amid the volatility of 2000, 2008 and 2020 and 2022, we feel good knowing that virtually all of those clients remain with us today – three and four generations, in fact. We believe that’s due in large part to our informed perspective on mitigating investment risk and ability to help clients prosper from new opportunities as they present themselves.

What inspires us? The opportunity to do more for fewer clients. Operating like a family office, we are typically a “first and only call” for any financial matter. When clients tell us about a problem, we vow to resolve it. We also serve as a friendly resource. In fact, we’ve advised clients on finding good restaurants, trusted mechanics, and local charging stations.

One more thing. Our advisors’ ages align nicely with clients of all ages – making conversations comfortable rather than a formality. By summoning our enthusiasm and experience, we look forward to helping you chart a wise financial course – and provide for the people you love.


At The Morrison, Longo and De Stefano Group, we devote ourselves to knowing clients exceedingly well – personally and financially. Doing so allows us to appreciate what’s on their minds and in their hearts. Experience shows that clients feel comfortable opening up to us. Listening closely (more than talking), we are rewarded with insights that help us address clients’ values, visions and concerns.

Clients often worry about outliving their money, future health care costs, overall inflation, and decisions surrounding Social Security and long-term care insurance. Addressing these issues, we often ask, “How do you want to live? How do you want your children to live? What brings you joy? What brings you here? And what role do you want us to play?”

As a planning focused advisory team, we’ve helped clients define their meanings of wealth. Our long-held belief is that planning is a process, not an event, and certainly not a document. Recognizing that clients can make vastly improved decisions in an environment they understand, we educate and encourage their values-based decisions. The quality and longevity of our client relationships remind us of the roles we play and the trust we’ve earned

To deliver the depth and breadth of “family wealth” planning for each client, we strive to understand the situations and ambitions of all stakeholders. Fundamental to our process is beginning with a wealth analysis that accounts for a client’s financial factors and personal preferences. By recognizing family dynamics and desires, we bring clarity to clients and ourselves. Only then, can we craft financial strategies that help clients navigate a rewarding journey.

Specifically, we provide a clear assessment of where clients stand in relation to their financial goals and what steps should be taken to achieve and protect what matters most to them. Our initial conversations may touch on cash flow, budgeting, investment objectives, personal and business circumstances, legacy planning and titling of assets.

Our team has a natural affinity for identifying tax efficiencies for clients throughout the year, not just at tax time. This ongoing focus can uncover and correct tax inefficiencies quickly. In addition, we have significant experience collaborating with clients’ CPAs and attorneys on tax minimization and estate planning strategies with potential benefits that can span generations.

Of course, our efforts require an extra measure of time that many advisors do not expend. However, we strongly believe that clients deserve our extended focus – the kind that can lead to positive and enduring results.


At The Morrison, Longo and De Stefano Group, we find that “time spent with clients” is critical to the highly individualized service we provide. In treating clients like members of our families, we often feel like members of theirs. In fact, each member of our team – our advisors and support staff – is well aware of clients’ situations and preferences, not to mention their favorite vacation spots, their children’s names and the names of their pets.

Speaking of our support staff, Debra Shipps and Meredith Vergara have more than 35 years of combined experience with Merrill. Their understanding of clients and the firm’s operations allow for requests to be handled smoothly and quickly. They recognize you have plenty on your plate. By performing their jobs well, they help you focus on the people and passions in your life.

As our client, we expect you’ll be pleased with the rigor of our service, our ability to help simplify, organize and optimize your family’s financial affairs, and our desire to be your proactive and responsive one-stop resource.

Experience tells us “anything less than outstanding service” is less than you deserve. To this end, we make it our business to make your goals ours. To provide genuine “family wealth” planning, we also aim to understand the situations and goals of all stakeholders. From open communications and familial relationships with both spouses (or partners), older parents and adult children, we can explore family dynamics and what drives your hard work and sacrifice.

Over time, we will remind you to contact us for any reason – if you have a financially related question or need a second opinion on a business or life circumstance. It is our hope to build a relationship with you and your family that inspires your trust in having heartfelt discussions when dollars and cents may give way to personal circumstances. We are here to bring you the perspective and time you need – to make decisions that are wise and unhurried.

When examining our strongest client relationships, we see that both spouses (or partners) are typically involved from the outset. To help us gain a rich appreciation of the people and priorities in your life, we may wish to visit your home or office. Also, because your family’s education can create lasting outcomes, we hope to assist your children in developing wise financial habits, becoming more disciplined and independent.

Ultimately, our ongoing awareness of your evolving circumstances allows us to make timely adjustments to your investments and, if needed, your overall strategy. We are proud of what we continue to accomplish for clients and their families – most who’ve been with us for years and came here by way of referrals.


At The Morrison, Longo and De Stefano Group, our vision of providing superior wealth management is predicated on having a genuine, ongoing appreciation of you – what keeps you up at night, what gets you up each morning, and what brings a smile to your face at the end of a long workday or memorable weekend. 

When asked, we characterize our offering as a rich repository of knowledge and best practices. Each day, we build and monitor integrated strategies as distinct as the clients we serve. Privacy is a pillar of our offering. Still, when it can prove beneficial, we may share what others in your peer group are doing. This not only leads to proven ideas for meeting an array of challenges, but ongoing education that can help your family members learn and prosper.

Even after decades as financial advisors, we are often surprised by the expectations of new clients. Most have only an inkling of the breadth and depth of our offering. As our client, you can expect that we will:

  • Put our heads together to scrutinize your overall wealth and its components – where they’re held, and how they can be consolidated to optimize their impact. We will perform an in-depth analysis of your investment allocation with regard to diversification, risk, cash flow, and time horizon – to help us identify redundancies and exposures, and evaluate tax efficiencies.
  • Apply a fiduciary standard to our efforts and always put your needs first. To us, that also means collaborating with you and your spouse or significant other (whenever possible) and serving as responsible stewards of your wealth. It also means that we will examine areas we may have ignored previously.
  • Strive to help you make informed decisions, rather than emotional ones. Our efforts are meant to increase the probability of your financial success, even when life’s challenges may feel overwhelming.
  • Do our best work when your needs grow in complexity. Putting our heads together, we enjoy meeting challenges, resolving problems and helping you focus on the people and passions in your life. 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 and discuss real-world scenarios with you.
  • Customize your portfolio of stocks, bonds and other asset classes using input from our firm’s Chief Investment Office and award-winning research analysts. We may also offer you access to alternative investments*– allowing you to benefit from non-correlated assets that we deem attractive, affordable and likely to offer reduced volatility. Our team meets regularly to discuss changes in the market and any adjustments that should be made to your portfolio.
  • Work to enhance both sides of your balance sheet – assets and liabilities. We offer ready access to specialists from Bank of America for residential securities-based and commercial lending solutions.
  • Encourage you to call us for any financial matter. Responding in timely fashion, we never want you to “ask us twice.” As resourceful professionals, we stand ready to handle details on your behalf.
  • Share your joys and moments of difficulty. We have celebrated with clients at weddings and anniversary parties, sat with them at funerals and hospitals, and helped them find caregivers. We consider ourselves “life advisors” – not just financial advisors.
  • Given our decades of experience, we rarely see situations we haven’t encountered. We feel fortunate to have long memories and relationships. It is our intention to help clients benefit from others we’ve assisted in similar positions.


*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.

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.