Nicholas E Raffin



The Raffin Group partners with several of the industry's largest teams to provide successful entrepreneurs and their families with a specialized set of family-office style services. Our unparalleled platform for managing wealth blends cutting-edge insights from the field of behavioral finance with Bank of America’s award-winning commercial and investment banking capabilities, the global insights and resources of Merrill, and the trust, estates and philanthropic services within Bank of America Private Bank to simplify client lives so that they have more time to complete essential tasks. 
Our modern approach to managing wealth positions family members as the centerpiece of every discussion, and offers a comprehensive range of best-in-class client services by operating proactively, transparently and with positive intent. Our mandate is to deliver consistent outperformance across multiple generations so that families can live securely, comfortably and in control while enjoying those daily activities that matter most to them - whether they are running a business of any size, supporting children through the educational process or embarking on new adventures in retirement.

*On Feb. 4, Bank of America announced it received the highest recognition in customer satisfaction for retail banking advice in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Advice Study. Catalyst, a global nonprofit working with CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces for women, honored Bank of America with the 2019 Catalyst Award on January 17.


    Yale School of Management - Executive Education

    McGill University (B.A. in Psychology; Minors in Economics, Political Science)

Professional Staff

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, my 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.

John P Walsh

John P Walsh

Retirement Specialist

Merrill Lynch

Valerie Galinskaya

Valerie Galinskaya

Wealth Strategist

Merrill Lynch

John Grassia

John Grassia

Senior Structured Credit Executive

Bank of America, N.A.

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

Welcome - Life's Better When We're Connected™

Acting as the Chief Financial Officer for a select group of New York City and Bay Area residents, we simplify the oversight of significant family fortunes by employing staff to manage public and private investments, coordinate philanthropic activities and engage all family members in a series of advanced educational seminars. We also serve as financial therapists for our clients across their complex journeys in life by offering financial wellness counselling and legacy planning in addition to the standard family-office amenities: preserving, accumulating, organizing and structuring wealth.

The Raffin Group takes great pride in implementing creative strategies for navigating the complexities of 21st century wealth. Our deep acumen across Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s proprietary wealth planning software allows us to help clients categorize their lifetime goals and aspirations into actionable next steps. Through Bank of America's extensive balance sheet we also offer custom lending strategies for homes, businesses and personal interests that span a wide spectrum of opportunity sets.

This 'one-stop-shop' structure is designed to streamline the decision making process for clients so that they can understand their net worth and pursue with confidence what matters most to them, whether that’s learning a new skill, travelling in comfort or sleeping peacefully at night.

“Let's do good inside the portfolio while we're doing good outside the portfolio.” - Chris Hyzy, CIO for Merrill

The Raffin Group focuses on working with philanthropic families who seek to do good in the world. By spending our efforts supporting successful households with established giving practices, and by providing them with increased wealth, impact investment opportunities (ESG) and more time to achieve their goals, we effectuate a positive change in the world.

Our proficiency through Bank of America Private Bank - formerly U.S. Trust - in the creation, administration and advising of private foundations, charitable trusts, donor-advised funds and tax-advantaged investment products such as annuities and insurance allow us to provide professional advisory solutions that are both meaningful and impactful. By placing an emphasis on asking powerful questions and listening intently to responses, we also help to educate our clients while gaining a full understanding of their backgrounds, present situation and hopes for the future. 

We believe that by being well informed about common financial topics our clients gain greater independence, stability and efficiency when making important decisions; this is an integral aspect of any successful advisor-client relationship.

*Impact investing and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) managers may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to reduce exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.

"We bring a full suite of solutions to your doorstep."

Drawing on our expansive resources across the nation's 2nd largest bank, The Raffin Group operates as a one-stop-shop for managing all aspects of wealth. We regularly assist clients with the following wealth management topics:

Asset Preservation Strategies - creation of living and irrevocable trusts, access to full service estate planning, dynasty trusts, grantor trusts, trusteed IRAs. Access to Bank of America Private Bank, the nation's oldest and most prestigious trust institution. Control of how your wealth will be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs.

Business and Commercial Banking - support of your small, mid-size or large business through the merchant services and lending capabilities of Bank of America. Assistance with selling your business or transitioning ownership to the next generation when the time is right. Wire transfers and cash management for account balances of all sizes. Investment banking and pre-post IPO preparation.

Comprehensive Family Planning - educational services for children of all ages, facilitation of discussions across multiple generations to map out philanthropic objectives, access to tax-efficient college savings plans such as 529s, Coverdell's or UGMA/UTMAs.

Executive Compensation Planning - development of a strategy for your concentrated stock options including 83(b) elections, access to ULTRA (a specialized unit within Bank of America), exchange funds for diversifying your portfolio without the realization of capital gains.

Financial Therapy Services - exploration of your risk tolerance, time horizon, subsconcious goals and attitudes towards money using behavioral finance techniques and proprietary questionnaires. Couples counselling on spending habits, planning for the future and managing work-life balance. Reviews of best practices for protecting assets in a divorce, preparing for marriage or welcoming new relatives into the family.

Insurance Planning
- review of your current policies including term, whole life, variable life and disability. Annuities and Long-Term Care applicability discussions, assurance that your dependents will be well taken care of following a significant life event that disrupts earnings potential.

Lending and Liquidity Services - competitive rates on mortgages through Bank of America (NMLS: 1459519), HELOCs, reverse mortgages, personal loans on investment portfolios, lending on private collections including artwork and airplanes.

Philanthropic Services - creation and administration of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), Private Foundations, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. Use of your appreciated stock to support nonprofits and charities. Full-service reviews of your tax-advantaged giving vehicles by Senior Trust Officers and associates at Bank of America Private Bank.

Retirement Planning - mapping of your current and projected income, expenses, assets and liabilities using proprietary Merrill Lynch wealth management software. Establishment of an investment strategy and action plan to help ensure that your goals will be achieved both pre and post retirement. 

White Glove Customer Service - automated bill pay, access to MyMerrill and MyFinancialPicture, concierge services for booking vacations, hotels or rentals. Access to specialized banking services and credit cards through Bank of America, never step foot in a commercial bank branch again.

“An Outstanding Mobile Banking Customer Experience" - J.D. Power

Given today’s rapidly evolving and highly-competitive digital environment, our team has adopted a technology-driven approach to managing wealth:

-  The award-winning Bank of America and Merrill applications provide seamless access to your accounts, and require a single sign-on to transition across commercial, business, investment and banking needs.
-  Our MyFinancialPicture technology allows any external accounts to be viewed in the context of your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management portfolios so that a complete perspective of your balance sheet can be obtained on one page.
-  The Merrill Lynch 'Document Vault' provides your household with a secure location to protect important documents online while our Secure Messaging Center facilitates private communications with your advisor team.
-  Through our e-signature framework there is now an ability to sign forms electronically on your phone and transfer them to our team from any location across the globe.

As our founder was born in Palo Alto and raised in Los Altos Hills, we have collaborated with many of his friends as they have progressed in their various technology careers. Several have become senior executives, top engineers, data analysts and HR representatives across the premier Silicon Valley startups and modern day tech leaders. With a first-hand knowledge of what it costs to live and work in the Bay Area, combined with our perspective working in the flagship office of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in New York, The Raffin Group provides a distinct vantage point that can help clients visualize and optimize their wealth like never before.

*On January 8, Bank of America became the first financial services company to be J.D. Power-certified for providing “An Outstanding Customer Experience” in its mobile app and online banking.

"We will coordinate with all outside counsel including CPAs, lawyers and business partners."

In light of rapidly evolving laws, our team offers creative and modern planning strategies for corporate executives, owners of closely held businesses, professionals and high net worth individuals, focusing not only on minimizing taxes but also on fostering the client’s unique family, business and charitable goals, often covering multiple generations. For complex households this process can include speaking regularly with CPAs, real estate attorneys, corporate attorneys, internal business partners and outside vendors. We can also use our secure messaging platform to share documents and tax statements directly with the various participants in your life, thereby providing you with increased time to concentrate your efforts elsewhere.

As an essential component of your wealth management plan, our specialists will work directly with your trust & estate attorneys to design and implement any personal estate plans and wealth transfer strategies. This process can consider your objectives, your family relationships, charitable inclinations, and the relationship of federal and state estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax laws to these objectives. We can also collaborate with your CPAs or accountants to provide assistance with the drafting of trust agreements and wills, the creation of various business entities and the carrying out of business reorganizations. Please inquire directly with our team to learn more about our 3rd-Party coordination capabilities and how we might be able to increase the efficiency of your financial life.

*We do not provide legal nor tax advice in our roles at Merrill

Your Financial Strategy

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill, as well as banking, trust and fiduciary services from 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 you stay on track to achieve what's most important to you.

<br />Periodic reviews to help you <br /> stay on track

Periodic 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.

    <br />Monitoring changes in your life<br />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.

    Wealth Management Your Way

    MyMerrill is your online and mobile destination for access to your financial information, secure communications, and a robust offering of tools and capabilities

    It’s easy to seamlessly integrate your Merrill Wealth Management and Bank of America banking accounts online and through our mobile apps with a single click

    You can manage account security with our customizable security capabilities such as Face ID/Touch ID, one time passcode and other security features

    Your advisor is a click away through our Secure Inbox and texting application

    Access to your complete financial life is available with Spending & Budgeting, integrating your Merrill and Bank of America activity into a powerful tool to track your expenses and income

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      Helping you reach your goals starts with getting to know you personally. Through understanding what matters most to you, I can help you create a financial strategy that reflects your personality. Only then can I 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 Wealth Management 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 Wealth Management Advisor.

      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, we will build a strategy that reflects your unique needs, priorities and financial situation.

      Adjusting your strategy as your life and the markets change.

      We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.