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The Topinka Group

Merrill lynch

The Topinka Group

Wealth Management Group

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

By understanding the mindsets and motivations of clients, we can help them prosper personally and professionally – in ways they don’t often expect.

At The Topinka Group, we make it our business to address the broad scope of financial issues facing our affluent clientele – most who have come to us by way of referral.

Our ability to develop long-lasting client relationships has resulted, in great part, from our mission to care for each client’s overall wellbeing (from financial, to health, to passions and people). We consider ourselves to be "dedicated problem solvers" – and feel especially privileged to address complex wealth management needs that span generations of clients’ families. Whenever possible, we meet with clients’ grown children to discuss meaningful paths toward fulfilling outcomes and handling the responsibilities of managing wealth.

In offering unbiased guidance with a personal touch, we deliver what we believe every client deserves – an exceptional degree of acumen and attention delivered with clarity, across the areas that comprise their financial lives. Happy to act as facilitators in coordinating with clients’ tax and legal advisors, our 360-degree approach demands that our focus extends well beyond risk-managed investing – to clients’ trust and estate plans, tax situations, wealth transfer and philanthropic wishes, banking and credit needs, and more.

By initiating regular dialog, our team members are treated by many clients as family members, as well as respected financial advisors. Our goal is for long-term strategies to help meet each client’s needs and wishes, especially, as they change over time. This requires our collective efforts, carefully researched recommendations, and frequent follow up. We recognize that our performance can help determine the success of our clients. This is a role we take quite seriously.

An Impressive Clientele

At The Topinka Group, the lessons we learn from clients can be as valuable as the hands-on wealth management we provide. With an intimate understanding of how clients view their professions, passions and the people they love, we are well positioned to help them prepare for circumstances they anticipate and those they don’t.

Our clients span life stages, experiences and the wealth continuum – from individuals in their peak earning years, to those selling a business, nearing retirement, and others who’ve already traded their seat in a boardroom for one on a golf cart. While diverse in their paths to our door, clients can all benefit from our customized wealth management strategies and simple explanations of our recommendations, regardless of their complexity.

Who do we serve?

Ambitious individuals who come to us with significant wealth and expectations. Most clients are self-made and demand that our efforts mirror their own work ethic. They include successful business owners (many whose 401k plans we handle), senior-level pharmaceutical executives, real estate developers and others who accumulate real estate assets, retired professional athletes, divorced and widowed women, members of the LGBTQ community, and generations of client families in the New York metropolitan area, Florida, and ten other states.

As we unveil who we are, clients often do the same. Many tell us what they’ve never shared with anyone – a troubling family matter, a health concern, or a new issue relating to a possible beneficiary. We appreciate clients who place their trust in our discretion and ability to offer helpful guidance. In all cases, we do what we believe are in clients’ best interests, even if straightforward suggestions may be difficult for them to hear.

Investment approach

At The Topinka Group, our approach is inspired by each client’s situation and our focus on the markets and tax efficiencies.

In addition to our team members’ professional experiences, we share a keen interest in the history, performance and dynamics of markets, and our industry.

As students of investing, we believe that – over the past 50 years – most portfolios have become over-diversified. Many investors do not realize that they may own "overlapping funds" with identical holdings – or that their assets are spread so far and wide, that no real strategy exists.

Our theory is to bring investing back to what "portfolio management" was intended to be – what Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham have long practiced and mastered. Specifically, we seek good value for each client that captures a better return than an index. Using internal and external research, we keep sector distribution un-weighted and only invest in individual equities and bonds when we have a strong conviction behind a company’s management team and balance sheet.

Ours is a patient, long-term approach to value investing with small turnover. Anticipating and embracing change on a global landscape drives our philosophy. We are driven by our extensive analyses of momentum, global fundamentals, currency fluctuation, interest rate and secular bull market trends, and other factors.

It has become our practice to blend our investment management with tax awareness in a way many advisors do not. In fact, by maintaining a watchful eye on clients’ tax consequences throughout the year, we allow for benefits to be realized earlier, on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, with the tax code changing frequently, we have sharpened our focus on new regulations. We also work closely with clients, their CPAs and attorneys – to align wealth transfer, business succession, tax-minimization and estate planning strategies.

What Clients Can Expect

At The Topinka Group, we are devoted to addressing clients’ financial challenges in several areas outside of portfolio management. Here are just a few examples:

• With many clients residing in “high-tax” states, we aim to prudently mitigate tax consequences throughout the year, not just at year-end. On a regular basis, we make sure not to add issues to a client’s tax base. In reviewing capital gains, we examine what losses can be offset at year-end. For clients selling a business or real estate, we analyze tax ramifications.

• We view each client as part of a family tree. For this reason, we consider the multi-generational impact of any consideration. When helpful, it is our practice to meet with parents, children and grandchildren. Doing so informs our perspective on achieving long-term outcomes that are financially and personally beneficial in the short- and long-term.

• Driven by a desire to make intelligent financial decisions, many clients want to know what’s required to enjoy a desired retirement lifestyle with predictable cash flow, create a family legacy, diversify holdings of company stock, effectively receive assets, purchase a second home, or expand an enterprise. Our planning-based approach “meets clients where they are in life.” In fact, we meet clients where it’s convenient for them – at home, a restaurant, by phone or WebEx. We work hard for each client – to help simplify and clarify the road ahead.

• We look at ways to utilize debt wisely and enhance both sides of a client’s balance sheet – assets and liabilities. To simplify matters for clients, we provide ready access to specialists at Bank of America, N.A. for residential and securities-based lending, business expansion financing, as well as short- and long-term cash management.

• As patient, “value investors,” we formulate client portfolios with holdings that we believe will outperform an index or the market. Individual client portfolios will be designed to address their investment timeline, need for liquidity, comfort with risk, goals and tax situation.

• We are proactive and prepared to work with clients’ CPAs and attorneys. Each estate plan should be structured to avoid unnecessary expenses, risks, taxes and legal burdens. With permission from clients, we can align our efforts with their other advisors on tax minimization and estate planning strategies. We also call upon our firm’s trust company to help insulate the wealth of client families.

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.

Additional Resources

The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.

Aileen T. Takio

Aileen T. Takio

Retirement Plan Manager

Merrill Lynch

profile photo

Linda A. Jacob

Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #584562

Diana De Jesus

Diana De Jesus

Wealth Management Banking Specialist

Merrill Lynch

Past Events

COVID-19 Volatility WebEx Event 12 PM

WebEx Meeting

May 6th, 2020|12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EST

Please join us for a virtual WebEx event discussing COVID-19’s effect on the markets and economy. We will be joined by Robert Jarvis, a Director and Portfolio Strategist from the Merrill Lynch Portfolio Consulting Group.

    COVID-19 Volatility WebEx Event 4 PM

    WebEx Event

    May 6th, 2020|4:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST

    Please join us for a virtual WebEx event discussing COVID-19’s effect on the markets and economy. We will be joined by Robert Jarvis, a Director and Portfolio Strategist from the Merrill Lynch Portfolio Consulting Group.

      Social Security Planning WebEx Event 12:00 PM

      WebEx Meeting

      July 7th, 2020|12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EST

      Please join us for a virtual WebEx event discussing Social Security planning. We will be joined by Sharon Carson, a Retirement Strategist on the J.P. Morgan Funds Individual Retirement team.

        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 periodically 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.

        Periodic 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.

          Monitoring 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.

          Wealth Management Your Way

          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.

            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.