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Cervantes Group & Associates

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As deeply experienced and passionate advocates for financial wellness, our team share your priorities and want to help you create a benefits experience that can help participants prepare for retirement and feel more prepared for their financial futures.

We start with what’s important to you

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.

About Us

Mission

Our purpose is simple, it’s to help make financial lives better — it’s who we are and what we do.

Additional Resources

Cervantes Group & Associates is supported by talented specialists who have experience working with institutions and share a strong commitment to guiding investment programs and strategic decision making.

David Work

David Work

Trust Specialist

Bank of America, N.A.

Jacob Rothenberg

Jacob Rothenberg

Wealth Management Lending Officer

Bank of America, N.A.

NMLS #621095

Approach

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Your role as a plan sponsor is more challenging than ever, and it’s not something to face alone. Managing benefits today requires fresh thinking, sharp insights and clear lines of sight. Working directly with CFOs, human resource and benefit professionals, company owners and employees, we provide knowledgeable high-touch service. From plan creation to plan implementation and management, from investment and access to co-fiduciary services to employee education — we are there every step of the journey toward better plan outcomes and brighter financial futures.

Retirement Benefits Consultant

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As Merrill Retirement Benefits Consultants (RBC), Christopher, Garry & Tracey are amoung a select group of highly qualified and credentialed Merrill advisors focused on defined contribution plans who can add value to your plan by:

  • Offering access to 3(21) fiduciary services1
  • Helping you shape your financial strategies
  • Offering thoughtful advice without a proprietary investment requirement
  • Providing periodic reporting and helping you understand results and measurements to assist you in managing your plan over time
  • Working with you to create a plan that is designed to drive employee engagement and positive participant behavior
  • Assisting in the delivery of employee financial wellness programs and education
  • Helping employees connect their life priorities with their finances to help them pursue what matters most to them

1 Fiduciary Advisory Services is an investment advisory service sponsored by Merrill. It will only be offered to defined contribution plans recordkept by Bank of America Merrill and plans recordkept by our Advisor Alliance providers. It is available for plans up to $500 million in plan assets. For more information on plan eligibility speak to your Merrill advisor.

Meet the Team

Cervantes Scheufler & Associates is among a select group of Merrill advisors who have met the rigorous requirements to be a designated Bank of America Merrill Retirement Benefits Consultant.

Recognition

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.

Christopher D Cervantes

Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in 2021

Financial Times –“Top 401 Retirement Plan Advisers” 2020.

Solutions for Institutions

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Supporting a strong retirement plan and helping to keep it on track

The retirement and financial needs of your employees, as well as the responsibility those needs create for you as an employer, are important to you. We offer the solutions your employees may need to help pursue their financial goals and maintain financial wellness. Our array of resources and experience is designed to help meet your employees’ financial needs in ways that make sense for your company — strategically, operationally and financially. You and your employees will have a team of experienced and passionate advocates for financial wellness on your side. Our team will make your priorities their own so you can focus more on your business.

For Plan Sponsors

Your role as a plan sponsor is more challenging than ever, and it’s not something to face alone. We bring the resources and thought leadership from Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates to bear in helping you provide a strong, healthy and fully compliant program that runs smoothly, engages your employees and makes your job easier. We can help you focus on the areas that may be helpful to plan success, including Fiduciary Advisory Services 1 and Education and Plan Services 2 appropriate for your plan.

Fiduciary Advisory Services1

Through Fiduciary Advisory Services, we can help you design and maintain an investment menu.
  • Investment Policy Statement (IPS)3
  • Comprehensive due diligence processes to identify appropriate investments 
  • Proactive delivery – online and by your designated advisor – of investment performance reporting every quarter 
  • Report providing fund analysis and market trends.

1 Fiduciary Advisory Services is an investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”). Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory and other services. There are important differences between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the type of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences, particularly when determining which service or services to select. Please refer to the Fiduciary Advisory Services Brochure for information on the program including a description of the series and related fees.

2 Education and Plan Services are non-fiduciary services required for Advisor Alliance clients and optional for MLII clients.

3 IPS service is not available for FAS Discretionary. The plan sponsor is responsible for the approval and final adoption of the IPS.

For Employees

All our efforts revolve around helping your employees pursue their goals. With Bank of America Corporation’s long legacy of service excellence, we take a holistic approach to helping your employees connect their life priorities and financial priorities—in and beyond their benefit plans. By broadening our view to include an employee’s entire financial picture, both in and out of plan, we believe we can help your employees better manage and gain control of their finances.

  • Holistic approach to helping improve overall financial wellness
  • Online investment advisory programs that offer participant advice; Personal Retirement Strategy that provides online advice and guidance to help participants pursue their retirement income goals through a recommended asset allocation and, if the participant elects, a discretionary managed account, Merrill Managed, for an additional fee or Advice Access that helps participants by providing asset allocation recommendations and ongoing investment management through its optional PersonalManager® service, for a fee.
  • Comprehensive employee education program

Personal Retirement Strategy is an online investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. (“MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) that uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that participants in the program will accumulate sufficient total assets to achieve their annual retirement income goal. The recommendations provided by Personal Retirement Strategy may include a higher level of investment risk than a participant may be personally comfortable with. Participants are strongly advised to consider their personal goals, overall risk tolerance and retirement horizon before accepting any recommendations made by Personal Retirement Strategy. Participants should carefully review the explanation of the methodology used, including key assumptions and limitations, as well as a description of services and related fees, which is provided in the Personal Retirement Strategy Brochure (ADV Part 2A). It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine or through the Retirement Benefits Contact Center.

Advice Access is an online investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. (“MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) that uses a probabilistic approach to determine the likelihood that participants in the program may be able to achieve their specified annual retirement income goal and/or to identify a potential wealth outcome that could be realized. The recommendations provided by Advice Access may include a higher level of investment risk than a participant may be personally comfortable with. Participants are strongly advised to consider their personal goals, overall risk tolerance, and retirement horizon before accepting any recommendations made by Advice Access. Participants should carefully review the explanation of the methodology used, including key assumptions and limitations as well as a description of services and related fees, which is provided in the Advice Access disclosure document (ADV Part 2A). It can be obtained through Benefits OnLine or through the Retirement Benefits Contact Center.

Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory and other services. There are important differences between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the type of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences, particularly when determining which service or services to select.

IMPORTANT: The projections or other information shown in the Advice Access program regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.

Additional resources for your organization

When you work with Cervantes Group & Associates, you benefit from the experience and knowledge we’ve gained from working with many institutions across the nation. We’ll bring all the latest thinking, insights and research from across Bank of America Corporation:

Bank of America Global Commercial Banking (GCB) provides a full range of commercial banking services to help your organization meet today’s challenges head- on and fuel sustainable growth. Bank of America specialists are committed to providing institutions like yours with banking solutions, including cash management and lending while investment solutions are provided by Merrill. GCB offers institutions solutions designed  to help increase cash flow, streamline benefits plans and expand geographically. GCB brings clients the full capabilities of Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates paired with local service.*

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (MLWM) provides access to market knowledge and financial experience. Merrill  can help your organization make decisions that are appropriate for its needs and goals. Our education and insights can help your organization understand what’s driving today’s markets and tomorrow’s potential global opportunities. MLWM serves clients across the wealth spectrum, with personal advisor relationships that helps each individual investor plan for and pursue their unique financial goals.

* “Bank of America” is the marketing name used by certain Global Banking and Global Markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch” is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S) and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., both of which are registered as broker-dealers and members of FINRA and SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. are registered as futures commission merchants with the CFTC and are members of the NFA.

DCIC

Through our Defined Contribution Investment Consulting (DCIC) program 1 we can help you construct and maintain an appropriate investment menu and act as an ERISA 3(21) fiduciary 2 for your plan. Our Designated Advisors take the time to understand the needs of your organization and to work with you to develop an investment policy statement and investment menu aligned with your plan’s objectives. Your Designated Advisor remains actively involved with your plan with investment performance reports and advice and guidance as needed to help you manage investments over time.

1  Defined Contribution Investment Consulting (DCIC) is an investment advisory program sponsored by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S or “Merrill”). It is only available to defined contribution plans, typically with greater than $10 million in assets, for which an external provider serves as recordkeeper (plans with recordkeeping services provided through Merrill or Advisor Alliance are not eligible for DCIC), and subject to certain requirements. For more information on plan eligibility speak to your Merrill Designated Advisor.

2 The Merrill  DCIC Client Agreement and disclosure documents include information about the program, including Merrill’s fiduciary responsibilities pursuant to ERISA section 3(21). Final selection of all investments to be included in the defined contribution plan menu will ultimately be that of the client. Merrill will not advise upon any employer securities, including any employer stock fund, or with respect to any self-direct brokerage option, participant loan balances, in-plan retirement income options, custom funds or Bank of America or Merrill affiliated mutual funds or other affiliated products (including, without limitation, deposit products including Retirement Bank Account).

Workplace Insights™ | Public Policy & Trends

Access information about the issues, laws and industry changes that are being considered and what these changes could mean to you and your employees.

Solutions for Individuals

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Philosophy

We believe that true financial success can be achieved when you're able to make investment-related decisions and trade-offs that can help you reach personally meaningful goals. So whether you're planning your retirement, saving to buy a home or fund a child's education, we start by getting to know you and how you feel about the following seven life priorities.

For Corporate executives, we offer guidance for diversification strategies for concentrated stock positions. For business owners, we can help them build company benefit plans and provide access to Bank of America for help in addressing cash flow, lending needs and other challenges. For those nearing retirement, we consider inflation, healthcare costs and other factors to help them achieve desired lifestyles. We talk with clients periodically and proactively explore opportunities with them.

Staying on Track

We understand that both your life and the financial markets can change over time. By 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.

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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.

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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

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.

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FAMILY
Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Trust & Estate Services4
  • Education Funding1
  • Insurance3
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HEALTH
Planning for healthcare expenses now and in the future
  • Long-term Care Insurance3
  • Health Savings Account2
  • Disability Insurance3
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HOME
Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Home Loans2
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Credit Cards2
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WORK
Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Bank of America Business Banking2
  • Exchange Funds1
  • Concentrated Stock Management1
  • Succession Planning1
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LEISURE
Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Credit Cards2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Structured Lending2
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GIVING
Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Donor-Advised Funds4
  • Private Foundations4
  • Charitable Trusts4
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FINANCE
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.

Approach

We believe an effective approach to wealth management requires working closely with you to help identify and define your goals.

Our  job is to first understand what matters most to you. We will work together to create a financial approach that reflects your investment personality and is built around your life priorities.

Our approach is to help you pursue your goals by providing customized service and potential investment solutions. Whether you are focused on building, preserving or transferring wealth we are committed to helping you address your financial objectives at every stage of your life.

Capabilities

Our process is designed to help deliver a customized, consistent experience to assist clients not only in wealth accumulation and preservation, but in areas that go beyond investments. Our ability to provide access to the investment insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking convenience and lending solutions of Bank of America offers a way to help clients manage all of the pieces of their financial lives. We view ourselves as a financial resource, helping clients with potential solutions for transferring wealth to the younger generation.

Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America Private Bank, a division of Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”).

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.

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