Firm: Merrill Lynch
AUM: $1.45 billion
Location: Charlotte, N.C.
Note: This profile is part of a special series devoted to On Wall Street’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking for 2012. Every day we take a look at an advisor who made the list to find out the secrets of their success.
Targeting only a handful of the ultra-wealthy, building close relationships with multi-generational clients, and dedicating himself to his team, Greg Cash reflects many of the fundamental themes of advisors who make this list.
Cash got involved in the business during college after interning at wealth management firms over the summer. He went on to join Merrill Lynch once he graduated, began by cold calling prospects, and after four years as a solo practitioner, hopped on with the team of Charles L. Wickham Jr. and his son R. Mitchell Wickham. They are now the Wickham Cash Group and practice with Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment Group, which deals only with clients who have a net worth of $10 million or more.
The team, which has grown since its founding more than 50 years ago by Charles Wickham to 12 total members, including the three partners as well as two analysts, six client associates and an on-team banker, has been the linchpin of Cash's success. "It's not all about me and without them I would not be at all wherever you are ranking me on this list," he says.
But, what really turned him on to the business was the human interaction with clients, a crucial component in his practice now given the Wickham Cash Group's history of dealing with a select few multi-generational families and entrepreneurs. "It's thinking about their entire financial picture," Cash says. "It's helping them with all aspects of financial lives like banking, helping them think about estate planning and where they want it to be—educating and regulating and reminding them." Before making any moves with a client's money, Cash and his team spend "hours and hours and hours" up front with them. "We learn about how they created their wealth, their tax situation, what their cash flow needs are, what their philanthropic desires are, everything we can about them," Cash says. He still does not say that he himself has made it in terms of his career. "In our business you can't stand still," he says. "If you ever feel like you've made it, you're probably not going to be where you will want to be five years from that point in your mind."