This is an excerpt from Finding Mastery #124 with top wealth manager Rebecca Rothstein in which she shares how she builds trust and wins over clients.


Michael Gervais: How do you build trust with them [your clients] because this sounds like a relationship based business?


Rebecca Rothstein: It is a relationship based business.


Michael Gervais: Yeah. The relationships that you’re squarely sitting on, finances, money, wealth, deeply emotional. My industry, sometimes when people make mistakes like there’s real physical consequence that takes place. Some might even argue that when you make a mistake there are real consequences that take place for people. So, I want to better understand, if I could unlock, I want to use this to understand how to be better at money, like this conversation but I also want to use it to understand how you’ve broken so many barriers and how you’re so skilled at what you’ve done. There’s not many women in your field to your point and somehow that has worked out really well for you.


Rebecca Rothstein: Well I never considered myself to be a woman in my industry. I considered myself to be first and foremost an advisor. It just so happened to that I was a woman. But I never felt that I wouldn’t win. If three people came to pitch you Michael and saying I want to be your financial advisor and you sat in a room with me and you sat in the room with two other people, the likelihood of my winning would be higher than anybody else. The reason for that is that when you’re talking to me, I’m looking at you straight in your eyes and I’m listening to what you have to say, I can then take that information and craft a solution for you that is what you want. It’s not about what I want.

Trust is something that only comes with time. You don’t trust people when you first meet, I don’t trust people when I first meet them, you may but I don’t. Trust is something that you earn over time. The other thing that happens in my industry which has served me really well is that it doesn’t always work. We did this and this and this is the reason why we did it and you know what, it’s just not working the way I wanted it to work. I would like to suggest that we change course and here’s the reason why. So you have to own your stuff like you would in any relationship.

In my business, there are very easy ways to measure things. Who’s the number one in the firm and who’s the number one that does this. There is a lot of measuring going on. The only measurement that’s ever been given to me that really holds value to me is that I have amongst the highest retention rates in the industry. I very seldom lose a client. I could literally think in the last year that I’ve lost one client who I said you know what, we’re not getting along well and I’m not enjoying this experience and I don’t think you are either. Some people are just honestly difficult to work with.

So, that’s the thing that matters to me is keeping you as my client and keeping you happy and having you say back to me thank you, I really appreciate the work that you’re doing. I also go, markets are, the equity markets are choppy and they’re volatile and when markets are particularly volatile I have a long standing tradition in my business and all of the people that work for me of getting on the phone and calling the clients and saying this is what happened today and this is the reason why and this is how it impacted you and this is my advice going forward. That’s a thing when you are proactive in my business and you let people know what the thinking is and what you’re thinking around this. Those are the things that I want to be measured by.


Listen to full podcast here.


Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at

Rebecca Rothstein is the Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch Private Bank & Investment Group. She focuses on helping high-net- worth individuals, families and institutions pursue their financial goals through wealth management and tax minimization strategies and legacy planning services.