Olympic athletes are, as expected, highly motivated, focused and competitive individuals. But according to several advisors who have them as clients, they also are easy to work with and highly engaging busines partners.
“I met [Olympic ice-hockey goalie] Jim Craig about five years ago, when he was hired by Merrill Lynch (BAC) to give a speech to the Mid-Atlantic reps,” said Kent Pearce of the Pearce Group in Towson, Md., in an interview with AdvisorOne. “There was a dinner afterward, and that was when we completely clicked. It felt like I’d known him for 20 years.”
The two have formed a fairly close relationship, says Pearce. After he met Pearce’s private-wealth team, Craig said he wanted to have the group “protect all our resources, including our name and legacy,” said the advisor, who leads a group of 10 professionals with about $1 billion in assets under management. “It’s a great honor to work with such a recognized icon in sports.”
Craig, the goaltender for the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, is best known for helping the Americans to defeat the Soviet and Finnish teams—and win the gold medal. He played in the National Hockey League in the 1980s and now runs a consulting firm, Gold Medal Strategies.
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“He is the epitome of a Total Merrill client, since we work with him on real estate, other properties like yacht, personal investments, trust accounts, business accounts and more,” said Pearce. “This also shows the power of resources and the power of Merrill to help run the legacy of someone not in the same area.” (Pearce is in Maryland, while Craig is based in Massachusetts and Florida.)
Advisor Patricia Barksdale (left), an advisor with Merrill Lynch in Newark, N.J., met four-time summer Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs at a YMCA golf tournament about 10 years ago. “She was in my group, which included two of my clients. A lot of camaraderie developed, and she stayed in touch,” said Barksdale, who manages about $165 million in assets.