Michael Kaufman

big-Michael Kaufman BW (1)

Mike retired from Merrill Lynch in 2021 after a 29-year career as a Senior Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor. After a 20-year career in insurance, real estate, and mortgage sales, Mike joined Dean Witter in 1993 with an attitude that “failure was not an option.” He was one of 30 advisors from around the country who graduated from a three-year training program with a starting class of over 300!

Mike succeeded by reaching out to friends he had made in his previous careers; he knew they trusted him and valued his direct but caring approach. He also taught retirement planning courses in local high schools which created a great source of prospects. For a good portion of his career, Mike worked with a coach, understanding the value of having someone to keep him on track at the right pace.

After joining another senior advisor in 1999, it was clear their combined practice needed to reduce their number of clients and create a world-class service model for their top clients. His coach suggested they were no longer clients of Mike or his partner but now “our clients.” They successfully reduced their clients to a reasonable number, allowing room for referrals from clients and COIs.

Mike also hired interns and younger advisors who gave their clients the distinct advantage of two people they knew and trusted from day one, using a rotating service matrix for client meetings. They integrated that client matrix into Salesforce, with all their review meetings scheduled a year in advance.

Mike was also an early adapter of technology, using LinkedIn to source introductions, and helped create a seminar at Merrill Lynch to help CPAs and Attorneys grow their practice using LinkedIn. These seminars opened doors to other professional connections –  both as clients and career-long referral sources.

His approach to the business was to be around the right people and to approach them at the right time to discuss business. Mike used intimate social events, including his love of golf and travel in order to spend quality time with his clients and professional connections. He was Chair of several non-profit boards and foundations throughout his career at Merrill Lynch.

Mike’s approach is to listen to his clients, ask questions, and create actionable goals after each coaching session. His past 10-year experience with his own coach was key to his success and eventual retirement from Merrill. Over the last 8 years of his career, he formed a Client Advisory Board that resulted in significant feedback and growth for his practice.

Mike and his wife have four children and four grandchildren, ages 2-8, that are at the center of their life. He has lived in the Rochester, N.Y. area all his life but regularly travels to ski in Colorado and Vermont, as well as plays golf on many courses around the country.