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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 private 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 resources of Merrill, and the trust, estates and philanthropic services within Bank of America Private Bank to simplify the lives of clients.

Our 21st century 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. We deliver consistent outperformance across multiple generations so that families can live securely, comfortably and in control while enjoying those 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 variety of advanced planning seminars. We also serve as financial therapists for our clients by offering lifestyle counselling and legacy planning in addition to the standard family-office amenities: preserving, accumulating, organizing and structuring wealth.

Through Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management's 'one-stop-shop' structure we provide clients with a streamlined ability to organize their lifetime goals and aspirations into actionable next steps. By leveraging the firm's extensive balance sheet our team of specialists can also provide commercial banking and custom lending strategies for businesses, homes and personal interests that span a wide spectrum of opportunity sets. We've found that this consolidated process allows our clients to better pursue with confidence what matters most to them, whether that involves 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 works 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 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 Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 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 at 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. Discretionary stock purchases and separately managed accounts (SMAs) in coordination with compliance departments.

Financial Therapy Services - exploration of your risk tolerance, time horizon, subconscious 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 yachts.

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 firm has adopted a technology-driven approach to managing wealth:

Bank of America and Merrill mobile applications - the award-winning platforms provide seamless access to your accounts, and require a single sign-on to transition across commercial, business, investment and banking needs.

My Financial Picture -  Our 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 and net worth can be obtained on one page.

Document Vault -  This offering provides a secure location to protect your important documents online, and enables access to cloud storage services.

e-Signature - Through our compliance-approved framework we allow forms to be signed electronically on your phone or computer for immediate transfer to our team from any location across the globe.

Secure Messaging Center -  Our private communications network facilitates conversations with your advisor team by providing an encrypted channel for sending and receiving emails

As our founder was born in Palo Alto and raised in Los Altos Hills, we have a first-hand knowledge of what it costs to live and work in the Bay Area. Combined with our perspective operating within the flagship office of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in New York, The Raffin Group provides a distinct vantage point that can help clients to visualize and optimize their wealth like never before. If you are a senior executive, top engineer, data analyst or HR representative across any of the premier Silicon Valley startups or modern day tech leaders then our financial advising team has been built specifically to help you. Please reach out to us directly with any inquiries or ideas.

*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 coordinate with all outside counsel including CPAs, lawyers and business partners so that you can enjoy your life."

In light of rapidly evolving laws, our team offers creative and modern planning strategies for corporate executives, technology entrepreneurs, professionals and high net worth individuals. These services might include speaking regularly with CPAs, real estate attorneys, corporate attorneys, internal business partners and outside vendors. Pending your approval our secure messaging platform will be used 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, The Raffin Group will also focus on optimizing taxes while fostering any unique family, business or charitable goals, often covering multiple generations. 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.

*Upon request, our specialists will work directly with your trust & estate attorneys to design and implement any personal estate plans and wealth transfer strategies including the drafting of trust agreements and wills, the creation of various business entities and the carrying out of business reorganizations. 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 do not provide direct legal nor tax advice in our roles at Merrill.

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 I can help you create a financial approach that reflects your personality. Only then can I 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.