“Increasing our number of female financial advisors is important to our long-term growth strategy,” Burton Street, director of RBC wealth management’s Chicago complex, said in a statement. “We want our workforce to be more reflective of our society and our communities.”
Mother-daughter combination Mary E. Williams and Michelle Grist, who operate as the Williams and Grist Investment Group, join RBC in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
Williams serves as senior vice president and financial advisor following 29 years in the industry. She had been registered with Merrill Lynch since 1983, according to her public registration records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Grist serves as associate vice president and financial advisor after seven years in the industry. She had been registered with Merrill Lynch since 2005, according to her FINRA registration records. Both Williams and Grist report to Oak Brook Branch Director Carrie Rosen.
RBC has also hired financial advisor Jill Willis from Wells Fargo in its Chicago office. Willis comes to RBC after serving for 31 years in the industry, which also includes previous stints at A.G. Edwards & Sons and Everen Securities, her FINRA registration records show.
For mother-daughter team Williams and Grist, the move to RBC came after they explored all opportunities, including other wirehouse firms, they said in an interview with On Wall Street. Since 2007, Merrill Lynch underwent its own cultural changes that brought a new emphasis on banking, according to Williams.
“The banking relationship with clients is a different relationship from the investing relationship and sometimes at odds,” Williams said, with the banking side aimed at driving more fees from clients and the investment side looking to make more money for them.
Williams and Grist ultimately decided to join RBC because of the firm’s values and the ability to serve their intergenerational clients, which currently includes about 100 family clients. The move also secured the future of their practice, according to Williams.
“My career has 30 years behind it. My daughter’s career has 30 years ahead of it,” Williams said. “We’re really looking for the right firm for the future of our business and for the future of our clients.”
Grist first interned at Merrill Lynch while studying teams as part of her education in psychology. That inspired her to enroll in Merrill Lynch’s training program and ultimately join her mother’s team.
Having more than one generation on their team has helped Williams and Grist better identify with their clients’ values, they say. Working with successive generations also helps them to hold onto those family clients when there is a death in the family, an event that typically prompts many family clients to switch advisors.
“We can really identify with the intergenerational need,” Grist said.