The Barth Group

Merrill Lynch

The Barth Group

Wealth Management Group

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At The Barth Group, every member of our team is dedicated to helping people achieve their financial goals. We believe every client is entitled to the highest level of personalized service and care. With the global resources of Merrill Lynch, we’ll place you at the center of the wealth management process as we work together to design goals-based financial strategies to help you reach the goals that matter most to you.

The Barth Group

Let Our Extensive Experience and Diverse Capabilities Work for You

Like many clients it serves, The Barth Group strives to build a reputation for its professional demeanor and heritage of accomplishments. Its highly credentialed team members have worked together for years, and are committed to delivering an exceptional measure of proactive wealth management to a multigenerational clientele.

"We believe in the value of personal attention," says Bruce Barth, who has been with Merrill Lynch for 42 years. "Our client associates have more than 70 years of combined experience and strive to consistently provide the outstanding service we believe clients expect and deserve."
The Barth Group brings a family focus to active and retired business owners, corporate executives, non-profit organizations, traditional and non-traditional families – in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Many clients have been referred by others who call upon the group to help align wealth transfer strategies.
"The clients we serve often enjoy a positive cash flow with plenty of money for savings – but they lack a disciplined investment strategy. Our goals-based approach encourages clients to identify concerns and aspirations. And we dig deep. Using the firm's advanced technology – and sometimes, just a pad and paper – we've had more kitchen table meetings with clients, spouses and families than I can possibly count," Jim Cole points out.
Using BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, model portfolios, and your outside tax professionals, the team's passive and active management aims for diversification, cost and tax efficiencies.
"Rather than focus on returns, we focus on clients' goals," Bruce says. "Spouses may disagree, which is why we facilitate conversations on retirement, how much money to leave the kids, and Social Security strategies. We also recommend that clients take only enough risk to help them pursue their desired lifestyles. As we develop personal relationships with clients, it's not only our professional but personal interest to help them pursue positive outcomes."
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Advice and guidance for every stage of your life

We assist a diverse clientele with the complex challenges of preserving, enhancing and managing their wealth. We serve every client with the same professional commitment to attentive service and are dedicated to using our considerable experience and capabilities for your benefit. The advice and guidance we offer is designed to help you create a dynamic strategy to approach your life goals, which may include preparing for retirement; positioning for a major liquidity event, such as selling a business; and creating a legacy by establishing philanthropic strategies. We can offer access to the banking resources of Bank of America, N.A. for cash management and liquidity needs with regard to credit and lending.
Transitioning to retirement
A smooth and efficient financial transition to retirement requires careful forethought. Through our disciplined process, and after a thorough review of your assets and balance sheet, we can help you create overall cash-flow-focused strategies designed with an emphasis on tax-minimization strategies. With your retirement goals clarified, together we will target customized strategies to each objective and monitor the progress toward them.
Addressing the needs of corporate executives
We have considerable experience helping senior executives manage concentrated stock positions. Key decisions around the timing for exercising your options, how to complete the transaction, and whether to hold or sell your acquired shares should be considered carefully. Based on your other holdings, risk tolerance, expectations for future growth and time horizon, we may recommend such strategies as creating liquidity through open-market sales, securities-based lending and trading programs in compliance with SEC Rules 144 and 10b5-1.
Strategies for business owners
As a business owner, your business and personal finances are closely intertwined, yet the attention your business requires may leave you little time to handle your own wealth management. We can help you integrate and balance your business and personal finances, proposing strategies that address goals for yourself, your family and your company. Our ability to work with your family and circle of advisors enables us to develop a coordinated wealth management approach tailored to your individual objectives. From growing your business, to realizing its value through a succession strategy or sale, to maintaining family ownership by the next generation, we can provide useful, practical strategies.

Helping you pursue your dreams

With more than 140 years of combined experience offered by our team of financial advisors and client associates, The Barth Group seeks to be your trusted advisor in helping you pursue your financial goals. We know you and will be here for you. We work with you to understand your financial objectives, and we will suggest carefully researched strategies. Our goal is to help make your financial life simpler.The best roads are built with a destination in mind. By helping you establish goals and define your financial objectives, we're better able to offer the individualized strategies designed to help you pursue them.

Beyond wealth and asset management
Our goal is to help you make better, more informed decisions on a broader financial scale. From investments to tax minimization strategies and from charitable giving strategies to estate planning services and business succession, we'll give you the benefit of our experience—and make the knowledge of Merrill Lynch specialists available when their skills and insights are required. We can also provide access to Bank of America banking and lending specialists who can help tailor banking services, including assistance with credit and home equity loans, to your individual needs.

We do more than maintain investment portfolios
At The Barth Group, we stimulate thought, encourage discussion, even encourage action. We acquire a deep understanding of your lifestyle and what you may need to make it sustainable, assisting you in pursuing your financial objectives.

Merrill Lynch's five-step wealth management process starts the moment we begin to talk about your vision, dreams and objectives. We discover who you are and where you're heading. By listening carefully, we develop an accurate picture of your current financial life. We work with you to establish your time horizon, risk tolerance, liquidity needs and goals.Once your objectives are clear, we suggest a customized wealth management strategy designed to help you pursue them. Your strategy's goal will be to strike a balance between expected performance, risk management, wealth preservation and long-term goals.

Knowledge. Vision. Stability. Experience. Education.

Wealth management is a process that can take many different twists and turns. It is not a single transaction, or even a series of transactions. The cornerstone of our approach is to help define your life’s goals and what is most important to you. Our belief as advisors is not only to provide financial services, but also to gauge the important changes happening to you and your family. It’s our goal to be there with compassion and strength during difficult times as well as the prosperous ones.

  • We seek to build long-term client relationships that are based on an understanding of your life situation, financial resources, investment personality, concerns and priorities.
  • We have the dedication to tackle difficult issues when the answers aren’t always obvious. The strategies we propose often come from innovative thinking and collaboration with area experts both within and outside of Merrill Lynch. Our recommendations consider your total financial picture, not just a limited assessment of the area directly affected by the recommendation.
  • We help keep you abreast of global events and market fluctuations that can affect your portfolio and, ultimately, your short-and long-term goals.
  • We believe in transparency and take the necessary time to help you thoroughly understand our recommendations in plain English—without the jargon.


Merrill Lynch is proud of our advisors who’ve received recognition from industry publications. We believe they are setting the standard for exemplary client service.

Bruce G Barth

Barron’s “America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors: State-by-State” 2014-2018

Barron’s America’s Top 1,000 Financial Advisors:State-by-State 2011, 2013

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.

Michael K Costo

Michael K Costo

Retirement Specialist

Margaret M Brennan

Margaret M Brennan

Senior Wealth Management Lending Officer NMLS # 644484

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.