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Best part of this Top 40 advisor’s week is Monday morning. Here’s why

Some people may rue Monday mornings. Not Nicole Christians.

The Merrill Lynch advisor and No. 5 on this year’s Top 40 Under 40 says the best 15 minutes of her work week takes place then, when she meets with her teammates and shares in their success. Christians, like other advisors on the Top 40 ranking, puts a premium on teamwork. “I view my practice as an extension of my family,” she says.

Christians shared these and other details about her work habits and accomplishments with On Wall Street, which is taking a closer look at advisors who rose to the upper echelon of the Top 40 Under 40. These ten industry leaders — who generated more than $59 million in combined revenue — talked about their motivations and challenges, as well as the wealth management trends they’re currently keeping tabs on.

Read on to learn what Christians says was her biggest success in 2018 and look for more interviews with Top 40 advisors.

Finalists for the Top 40 Under 40 were to be no older than 39 as of Dec. 31, 2018. They also had to be registered with a firm in the employee channel. Nominees’ information was confirmed with their employers. Production totals were used to determine the rankings. Production and AUM figures are as of Sept. 30, 2018.

Nicole Christians Merrill Lynch financial advisor new photo.jpg

How would you describe your practice?

My practice as an extension of my family. From a client perspective, our practice provides personalized, tailored solutions to clients, leveraging our individual talents and firm resources to deliver holistic advice with white-glove service.

What was your biggest work accomplishment in 2018, and was there something that nearly kept you from achieving it?

2018 was a very pivotal year for me personally and professionally. With our long-term partner retiring after 46 years, 18 of which I worked with him, I had to challenge myself to grow and evolve in my leadership role while confronting a certain amount of fear. Our team had its best year ever in 2018, and I am very proud of that. Had we not had incredible contribution and effort from each and every team member, I don’t think that we could have done it. It was truly a group win, and I am very grateful. I am especially grateful to my partner Aaron Romain.

The advisors at the top of the ranking generated more than $59 million in combined annual revenue.
February 4

What was your biggest personal accomplishment in 2018?

Rehiring my triathlon coach, getting back to running and becoming a morning person.

Describe the best 15 minutes of your work week.

Our Monday morning team meeting sets the pace for my week ahead. It is where I hear and share in the success of my teammates, whom I feel very privileged to work alongside.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Balancing my desire to be available to my clients at all times with my personal life priorities. I think I’m pretty good at it, but I have to work at it. Just ask my dog and my husband.

What makes you stand out as an advisor?

I take a very personal approach to my client relationships. I get to know them, their family, their priorities and what keeps them up at night. I don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” solution, and it takes a true understanding of someone to provide the right advice.

What do you think people often misunderstand about the work advisors do?

Many people think that the only thing we do is manage money. That’s obviously part of it, but equally important is managing emotions, expectations, goals and progress.

If you could get Americans to change one financial habit this year, what would it be?

I want them to make a small positive change that will have a big impact long term, and don’t get overwhelmed. Whether it’s saving just a little bit extra each month, increasing your 401(k) contribution by 1%, or paying down extra debt. Everything counts.

What advice do you give to new FAs?

Focus on doing what is right for clients, and treat your colleagues the way you would want to be treated. Financial reward and success will follow if you maintain the highest ethical standards and follow the “Golden Rule.”

What trends are you watching in 2019?

I am looking at impact investing and all things digital. I think that the world is changing, and people are changing the way that they view the social and environmental impact of their investments, as well as the way that they are doing business through technology.

What technology can you not live without?

My iPhone. It’s my lifeline.

Who is your personal hero?

Jacqueline du Pre

What is your morning beverage of choice?

Coffee Americano.

What goal, professional or personal, do you most want to achieve in 2019?

I raced my last full Ironman in 2014. I want to complete another before I’m 40. The clock is ticking…

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