A smart and pithy saying goes: We create our own opportunities. Wiser still is the person who seizes only the best of them. Michael Rogers, appointed a Merrill Lynch regional director this past February, is indeed such a man.
Michael Rogers, Director-Mountain West Region, Private Banking and Investment Group, Merrill Lynch; Los Angeles, Calif.What do ultra-high-net-worth clients want? “They’re looking for strong advisors with capability and experience at a very high level who can get them access to institutional management ideas and pricing. They’re quasi-institutions: individuals, but their size makes them look like institutions.”
More than 20 years ago, Rogers saw his long-term future in the face-to-face advice business. After all, despite advancing computerization, folks will always need to sit down with a financial expert, he reasoned.
That thinking led to his becoming a private banker to wealthy families. He next moved to Merrill Lynch as a strategist helping financial advisors win high-net-worth clients, then went on to be a key player in setting up the firm’s Private Banking Group and was named sales director.
But when Morgan Stanley asked him to take over an entire Private Wealth Management region and recruit FAs specializing exclusively in clients with $10 million or more, it was a big step up — and Rogers took it.
Soon after, Merrill Lynch offered something even better: a larger region by way of more assets under management. “It was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up,” says Rogers, director of the firm’s Private Banking and Investment Group’s fast-growing Mountain West Region.
Back now with the firm since June after less than a year at Morgan Stanley, Rogers heads one of Merrill’s fastest growing regions; a major focus remains recruiting FAs with super-affluent clients only.
“I was excited because I could return in the senior leadership role in a place I knew so well. I felt very strongly that we could quickly capture significant share in our target market,” says the energetic executive, 48.
With a decade’s experience in the ultra-high-net-worth arena, his goal is to make Merrill the preeminent private wealth provider for clients with $10 million or more. It is a fiercely competitive market segment. But, notes Los Angeles-based Rogers, “Our market share is pretty strong already, and it’s increasing.”
Says Merrill’s John Thiel, managing director-head of the Private Banking and Investment Group: “Michael is one of the warmest, kindest, smartest people I know; and he has a great deal of experience working with clients and advisors in the ultra-high-net-worth [market]. We’re just thrilled that he’s come back.”
Rogers brings with him exceptional connections, both personal and professional. They come in handy for entr?e to the few advisors who specialize in none but cream-of-the-crop, super-well-off clients. But wooing these highly sought-after FAs is competitive too.
“They are at the top of their game and very coveted resources where they [work]. To move from a place where they’re very well taken care of to go to a new place — even one that has a great reputation and momentum — is quite a difficult decision,” says Rogers, who has about 40 advisors reporting to him.