Investing: Where do I even start?

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The Ryan Group

The Ryan Group

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We provide customized services supported by the broad capabilities of a global institution. Working with a limited number of clients, we are able to offer you and your family personalized attention for all aspects of your financial life, now and for future family members.

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About Us

Customized advice tailored to meet the needs of each client

"Institutional consulting requires a customized and focused strategy for every client. Our skills, experience, and broad perspective equip us to work with diverse investment committees, executives, boards and trustees."

Courtney Moore, CFP®, CIMA®| Managing Director | Private Wealth Advisor | Merrill Institutional Consultant | Retirement Benefit Consultant

Nonprofit Organizations, Private Foundations and Cultural Institutions

We help nonprofit organizations, private foundations and cultural institutions create customized and forward-thinking investment programs designed to support their mission, investment policy, spending policy and liquidity needs.

Hospitals and Healthcare Systems

We have been working with health care institutions since 1991. We recognize the importance of building and managing different portfolios for specific purposes within the operation of a hospital. We believe that liability-driven investing, compared to traditional investing, may be a valuable way for pension plans to stabilize funding through market cycles. We strive to help pension plans pursue more stability in funded status, required contributions and balance sheet impact.

Faith Based Organizations

We offer experience in helping values-based investors identify and examine areas of interest they might wish to address, including investments based on religious values, human rights, environmental quality and health care so we can build a solid portfolio of investments to support those beliefs.

Wealthy Families

We focus on providing wealthy families and future generations of these clients innovative strategies demanded by the complexities of their substantial wealth. We help integrate wealth strategies that reflect the family's mission, fully align each family's financial goals with personal values and help implement long-term legacy considerations.

*Merrill Institutional Consulting™ (MIC) is part of the Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM), the wealth and investment management division of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”), and offers products and services for the benefit of institutional and ultra-high net worth clients through dually registered representatives of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith Incorporated(also referred as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) who can provide brokerage and investment advisory services.  The nature and degree of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and clients’ rights and MLPF&S’s obligations will differ depending upon the products and services actually provided. Banking products, services, and activities are offered by wholly owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp., including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC.  MLPF&S and Bank of America, N.A. are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation.


MLPF&S is a dually registered broker-dealer and investment advisor and Member SIPC. MLPF&S makes available investment products sponsored, managed, distributed, or provided by companies that are affiliates of BofA Corp.
*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 eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.

Meet the Team

Our team is comprised of talented and experienced individuals committed to building strong client relationships based on trust and personalized service.

Mission Statement

Our clients can rely on our team’s integrity and experience to put their financial needs first so they may pursue their unique purpose. We will use our collective capabilities and knowledge along with the depth and breadth of our firm to help ensure the financial health of our clients.

Providing advice and guidance through a disciplined, goals-based investment approach


“Because each institution brings its own its portfolio, each investment thesis is unique, according to James Ryan, an adviser with Merrill's Private Wealth Management Group." Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2015

Leveraging our team’s collective experience and diverse backgrounds, we take a holistic approach when advising clients. We recognize that organizations depend on the performance of their investment portfolios to fulfill their mission and goals. However, our work goes beyond investment rate of return.

Assess - Our broad perspective equips us to work with investment committees, boards and trustees to help them more clearly articulate their long-term strategies and understand how certain objectives affect their balance sheet.

Articulate - Listening is crucial, and so is proposing solutions in a clear and concise language. Seldom is the first draft of an asset allocation the most fitting; it takes an honest dialogue between advisor and client to determine which set of potential solutions has the best fit with the client's time horizon, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, investment goals as well as the cost associated with the recommendation.

Define - We believe a portfolio can only serve an organization if the advisors know the goals, mission and aspirations of that organization. This requires extensive probing and listening to discern what the time horizon of both the portfolio and risk profile should be. The time committed to planning the structure of the portfolio is intended to pay dividends for years.

We understand that fiduciaries have a significant responsibility with respect to the assets under their care, yet resources are stretched more thinly than ever. Many organizations do not have the time, resources or expertise required to develop, implement and track a disciplined, long-range investment strategy.

Implement - Our team delivers the full global resources of one of the world's most preeminent financial institutions, offering a high level of tailored solutions from a local presence, and serving as an outsourced solution for many clients to leverage.

Review - In a fast-paced world with an ever-changing landscape, we recognize that the consistent reviews of a client's portfolio is important. As part of our process, we provide a holistic review of your portfolio and help ensure relevancy to your goals. The thought leadership we bring to you is integral to the advice we provide and a key factor in the institutionally focused reporting we give to each client.

"...Advisers who work with impact investors agree that customization is key, even within religious denominations." says James Ryan...." Institutional Investor - November 3, 2015

*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 eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.


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.

Courtney Moore

Barron's "Top 100 Institutional Consulting Teams" 2021, 2022, and 2023
Published annually in April. Rankings based on data as of December 31 of prior year.

Barron's "Top 100 Women Financial Advisors" 2019-2022
Published annually in June. Rankings based on data as of March 31 of the current year.

Barron's "Top 50 Institutional Consulting Teams" 2018 and 2019
Published annually in April. Rankings based on data as of December 31 of prior year.

Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisors" 2018-2022
Published annually Jan- April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.

We start with what’s important to you

At Bank of America, we take the time to listen and learn about the needs and goals of your institution and the people it serves – it’s these real-world insights that guide our strategies and personalized service.

Solutions for Institutions

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Helping institutions meet their investment needs

We put the resources and intellectual capital of Merrill to work for institutional clients like you by delivering thoughtful advice and sophisticated investment strategies through focused client-centric consulting. We help organizations like yours address today’s complex investment challenges through an integrated, goals-based investment process that enables them to redefine success, manage risk and help fulfill their missions.

Endowments, Foundations and Nonprofits

We understand the issues nonprofits, endowments and foundations address in funding their missions in an ever-changing financial climate. Drawing on the global resources of Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates, we offer insight, guidance and personalized service to help institutions develop and execute investment strategies focused on what matters most to them and the people they serve.

Impact investing and/or Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has certain risks based on the fact that ESG criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons and therefore, investors may forgo some market opportunities and the universe of investments available will be smaller.

Investment Solutions

We provide access to a broad suite of potential investment solutions for non-profit organizations, foundations, endowments and corporate retirement and pension plans. Our level of involvement is based on your preference — from traditional consulting, to client-directed implementation, to full discretionary outsourced CIO services. We work with your CFO, board  of directors and investment committee to develop a tailored investment strategy that is consistent with your culture, goals, preferences and risk profile.

Disciplined Investment Process

We follow a disciplined process that helps to address your organization’s changing needs and provides you with a potentially higher probability of achieving your long-term investment goals.


Investment Policy Statement Development and Review

Act as liaison between institutional clients and Merrill's Investment Policy Statement (IPS) service, which creates and modifies an IPS, based on the client’s investment goals and objectives.


Strategic Allocation Modeling

Customizable asset allocation based on the Chief Investment Office capital market assumptions.


Investment Manager Due Diligence

Recommend investment solutions leveraging Merrill's thorough and rigorous due diligence process.


Investment Manager Search and Selection

Advanced portfolio construction techniques combined with client specific objectives and Merrill's capital market guidance.


Portfolio Strategy

Leverage Merrill's global intellectual capital including tactical tilts to potentially help increase returns.


Performance Measurement

Review, quantify and evaluate performance to identify opportunities to refine the portfolio’s overall strategy, based on the Investment Policy Statement.

Defined benefit plans

Whether your defined benefit plan is an active part of your overall benefit offering, is closed to new participants, or fully frozen, Bank of  America's service model allows you to outsource the many administrative tasks associated with the maintenance of a pension plan to fulfill plan obligations and manage risk.

Key services include:
• Investment consulting service
• Open architecture investment management platform
• Liability driven investment implementation
• Actuarial services and discretionary investment management

And More

Beyond our experience, we offer access to the deep intellectual capital and broad capabilities of Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates. If we identify a need we can’t service ourselves, we can connect you with the people and resources to help you. Through our network of advisors, we strive to deliver strategies to help you manage the day-to-day and long-term responsibilities required in pursuing your institution’s goals. As we work together to address your evolving needs, we can help make the broad capabilities of Bank of America Corporation feel more accessible.

We’re committed to a high standard

Putting clients’ interests first isn’t new, and this isn’t a one-time event. Our clients have been at the center of everything we do since Charles Merrill founded Merrill over a hundred years ago.

Solutions for Individuals

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A Commitment to Service

Merrill Private Wealth Management is committed to providing a select group of clients with highly personalized one-on-one service. When you work with us, our knowledgeable, rigorously trained private wealth advisors will gain a deep understanding of your goals, help you develop a multigenerational wealth strategy, and help you update your strategy as needed. We are committed to providing you access to the investment insights of Merrill and the banking convenience of Bank of America, and Merrill will continue to invest in client tools and new technology to enhance your overall experience as you and your private wealth advisor pursue what’s most important to you.

Corporate Executives

We understand the complexities that come with your executive position and the extreme demands on your time. We can help you develop a customized strategy that your finances and compensation require. We can help with risk management strategies for your concentrated stock position while navigating complex SEC rules, trading restrictions and reporting requirements. If you’ve just been promoted and would like help evaluating your new compensation plan, or if you’re looking to develop a long-term financial strategy for you and your family — designed to enable you to live life as you want it, with reliable access to cash — we can help simplify your financial life, as well as develop new strategies as your career and goals evolve.

Foundations and Endowments

An investment portfolio tailored to your needs is crucial to advancing your organization’s mission and carrying on its important work. We have extensive experience working with endowments and foundations and have a keen understanding of the requirements and responsibilities of board and committee members for investment management and financial oversight. The strategies we construct are carefully designed to help promote stability, efficiency and growth under a variety of market conditions. We also offer advice on board governance and reporting, and help in meeting regulatory and operating challenges. We provide access to the customized services your organization needs with discretion and skill.

Intergenerational Family Wealth

As a family that spans multiple generations, you have needs that go beyond preserving assets, tax minimization strategies and designating heirs. Your goals also likely include passing on values and helping the rising generation become effective stewards. We can help with personalized wealth transfer strategies, family wealth education and developing and implementing philanthropic visions. In working with you to create an approach that reflects your family’s intentions and helps ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, we proceed in a manner that recognizes the complexities of your life challenges and the unique nature of your goals. Our extensive experience working with other families of significant wealth helps  us to see and share best practices to help you achieve them.

Family Offices

As private wealth advisors with Merrill Private Wealth Management, we work with prominent families to help them manage the ongoing complexities they face. Our deep experience with family offices enables us to tailor a range of services to help meet your specific needs. We can provide access to Merrill for investment and wealth management strategies, and to Bank of America for governance, asset custody and administration, as well as assisting in the financial education of younger family members. In working with you to create and implement plans reflecting your specific intentions, our goal is to help your family enterprise succeed, and that your knowledge and values are passed along to the next generation. Together, we will focus on strategies that recognize the unique nature of your family’s mission, history and goals.


As a woman, you are well aware of how inaccurate stereotypes about gender and money can be. Beyond some specific challenges — for example, planning for the statistical probability of outliving a spouse — managing your finances means avoiding preconceived assumptions while gaining a full understanding of who you are as an investor and what you want to achieve for your career, your family and your legacy. Merrill Private Wealth Management works with a select group of wealthy individuals and families to help them pursue the goals that matter most to them. We strive to get to know our clients on a personal level so we can offer boutique-like services and the resources of a global firm to create financial strategies specifically for their life and needs.

Company Founders, Private Business Owners & Entrepreneurs

When you have built your own business, your personal finances and the life of your company are closely intertwined. You may be thinking about how to invest in your company’s growth while also deciding how best to use your personal assets. Helping ensure the future of your business likely involves employee benefits, retirement plans and succession planning. Helping secure your family’s legacy could entail wealth transfer strategies, trusts and philanthropy. Whatever your specific needs, we at Merrill Private Wealth Management can help entrepreneurs and business owners balance their personal financial lives with their life’s work. We are dedicated in providing the experience and resources to help support your ongoing success.

Nonprofit organizations

Your passion drives your organization’s mission, and you depend on an investment portfolio and an effective staff to carry on its important work. As private wealth advisors with Merrill Private Wealth Management, we have experience working with nonprofit organizations. We possess a keen understanding of the challenges you face, including maintaining operational efficiency and productivity through uneven market circumstances, growing competition for donations, and increased fiduciary requirements. Drawing on our extensive capabilities to help you fulfill your organization’s mission, we can provide access to the customized services your organization needs with discretion and skill, such as strategic planning, portfolio management, administrative and board support, and advisory solutions.

Join us

Let’s Have a Conversation

There is no substitute for a one-on-one relationship with a Merrill financial advisor committed to your needs.