The Porter Group provides customized investment advice built on a foundation of close relationships with clients.
Steven K. Porter wants to poke his nose into your business. In a good way.
A Wealth Management Advisor who leads The Porter Group, located in the Merrill Lynch Northbrook office, Porter and his associates pride themselves on building close, long-term relationships with clients.
“The most important components of the wealth management business are relationships and understanding clients’ goals and needs,” Porter says. “For us, no two clients are the same and every relationship is customized. We don’t take a cookie cutter approach.”
The Porter Group provides customized investment solutions for their clients by striving to keep the team continually educated about a broad range of investment options.
“Intensive education combined with Merrill Lynch’s extensive menu of choices and services enables us to bring unparalleled value to our clients,” says Porter.
Porter adds that the wealth management process has evolved over the years with a particular focus on diversification, including investment alternatives such as hedge funds, private equity, and real assets.
“Investment alternatives were a steep learning curve for our team but are now a key ingredient of our portfolio for the right client,” Porter says.
Porter also understands the multi-generational aspects of family investments, and the challenges involved in wealth transfer.
“Wealth management and retirement planning are very import- ant but so is wealth transfer planning and trust and philanthropic services,” Porter says. “We partner with Bank of America Trust Services and are very involved in both the cumulation and distribution phases of assets.”
Family relationships can sometimes be tricky, but Porter says it comes down to education and building trust with clients, and taking a team approach.
“Being involved in the overall family dynamic is important,” he says. “We spend time with the whole team—the accountants and the lawyers—that a family needs so we can understand every facet of a client’s financial picture.”
From a financial products standpoint, Porter says, the investment advisor field has largely become a commodities business rather than a personalized one. Type in a few keystrokes and let the system do the work. The wise choice is to get financial guidance from an advisor who’s willing to take the time to understand you and who knows the process and products.
The Porter Group utilizes an investment model developed by Merrill Lynch that looks at a client’s age and existing income and develops a long-term plan based on multiple factors.
“A client might have some guaranteed income, such as social security or a pension, or some traditional assets like stocks and bonds, or an annuity.” Porter says. “We want to be able to look at the full picture and then bring our knowledge of additional in- vestment opportunities to the table to educate them and broaden their options.”
The fact that Porter has been with Merrill Lynch for his entire- career, in a business where advisors often switch companies, brings an added stability for clients.
“It’s challenging to find someone like myself who’s been with the same company that long,” he says.
Porter grew up on the golf courses of Chicago’s Western Suburbs, starting out as a caddy and eventually becoming an assistant pro. Then serendipity struck.
“Growing up on golf courses, around people making deals, an opening came up to join the financial industry and I took a flyer on it,” he says. “Thirty-seven years later here I am.”
Steven K. Porter and the Porter Group are located at 1033 Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook, 847-564-7213, fa.ml.com/illinois/northbrook/theportergroup/.