Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor Steven Porter spends roughly 30 days a year in airports and 30 nights in hotels for one reason and one reason only.
There is nothing like meeting with a client face-to-face.
“I just got back from a trip to North Carolina to meet with a group of clients that have recently inherited a significant amount of wealth and were completely in the dark as to how to handle it,” recalls Porter from his office in Northbrook. “Those aren’t the kinds of conversations you have over the phone or by text. Those are the conversations you have across a table from one another.”
Indeed, this close relationship that Porter strives to establish with each and every one of his clients, both in Illinois and around the country, has had a direct affect on the success of he and his team. Since joining Merrill Lynch in 1982, Steve has worked diligently to grow the Porter Group to what it is today, with members of the team having 135 years of collective experience to help their clients make crucial financial decisions.
“We work hard to get to know every single side of their financial situation,” explains Porter, who has been named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Top Wealth Advisors” and “Best-In-State Wealth Advisors” in 2018. “There are so many dynamics that go into every financial decision, and the better we get to know those dynamics, the better we will be able to advise them going forward.”
A longtime Lake Forest resident, Porter first came to work for Merrill Lynch 36 years ago, when a casual meeting on the golf course with some executives had him quitting his job as an assistant golf pro for a future in financial services.
“The business has evolved so much since then,” laughs Porter, who works alongside a team that also includes fellow Wealth Management Advisor Michael Widmaier and Registered Senior Client Associate Amy Begley. “Therefore, we make sure that all of our advisors have a different set of skill sets in order to ensure that every client is taken care of properly.”
Also joining him on the team is his son Kyle Porter, who now works alongside his dad as a financial advisor.
“Yes, having Kyle here has been wonderful for us,” says the senior Porter. “He can especially speak to our millennial clients and make them feel more comfortable about the decisions they are looking to make.”
Indeed, Porter says the financial services industry is more multi-generational than ever before, with grandfathers to mothers and children often all coming into the office together to discuss their current portfolios and how they can get them to work for them for many years to come.
“Our team works hard to provide the highest level of service to our clients on an everyday basis,” Porter says. “Our clients are with us for the long run.”
In 2019, Porter says that many of his clients are obviously a bit shaken up as a result of the current volatility in the market. However, his entire team remain steadfast in their financial convictions.
“We essentially work within a retirement triangle that ensures our clients are taken care of, but rest assured, no two clients are alike,” says Porter, who has received the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation after taking a wide range of professional development courses. “We look to differentiate ourselves from other companies, both in investment strategies and service. Most of our clients have been through this volatility a few times before. We manage money for the long-term and our relationships are for the long-term. That’s just how we do it around here.”
The Porter Group is located at 1033 Skokie Boulevard, Suite 500 in Northbrook, 847-564-7213.