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Risk Management - April 18, 2014

We highly value innovative and thoughtful research - an interview with Anil Suri

In this month's interview, we speak to Anil Suri, Managing Director and Head of Portfolio Construction & Investment Analytics at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management about the creation by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and EDHEC-Risk Institute of a research chair on "Risk Allocation and Goals-Based Wealth Management." Anil Suri also discusses the role of research in Merrill Lynch Wealth Management's overall business strategy.

Anil Suri

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and EDHEC-Risk Institute have announced the creation of a research chair on "Risk Allocation and Goals-Based Wealth Management". Could you tell us about the concept of "Goals-Based Wealth Management" as conceived by Merrill Lynch?

Anil Suri: At Merrill Lynch, we believe that true financial success comes when our clients achieve their goals. While benchmarks such as stock and bond indexes can be useful tools for evaluating portfolio performance, our aim is achievement of what matters to our clients on a personal level, such as a child’s education, a new home or income in retirement.

Our approach, Goals-Based Wealth Management, is designed to help clients pursue these personally meaningful goals. It helps advisors define each investor’s goals precisely and to make the most of available financial resources in pursuit of those goals. Our advisors can create or recommend investment solutions customized to address each client’s unique set of concerns, help clients track progress and adjust their investment strategy along the way.

Having already established the framework of Goals-Based Wealth Management within Merrill Lynch, what additional value do you think the collaboration with EDHEC-Risk Institute will deliver?

Anil Suri: The aim of our collaboration with EDHEC-Risk Institute is to produce a robust, mathematically rigorous approach to creating portfolios designed to meet investors’ goals in all stages of their lives while accounting for the key risks they face. We believe the rigor of this thought leadership will be instrumental in developing an innovative and transformational framework for wealth management.

To what extent is research important to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management's overall business strategy?

Anil Suri: Merrill Lynch has been a pioneer and thought leader regarding the allocation of investor resources to achieve personally meaningful goals. Chief Investment Officer Ashvin Chhabra’s article “Beyond Markowitz,” originally published in 2005, introduced the Wealth Allocation Framework, an industry leading approach for Goals-Based Wealth Management and the concept of risk allocation for individual investors. We highly value innovative and thoughtful research that helps our clients gain insights about the most effective ways of achieving their financial goals.

What attributes of EDHEC-Risk Institute led you to set up the research chair there?

Anil Suri: The EDHEC-Risk Institute is globally recognized for its academic excellence and leadership in helping investors understand and manage risks. In addition to those qualities, we were attracted by ERI’s inclination to work on complex problems of great significance to practitioners, and the impeccable quality and professionalism of faculty members such as Prof. Lionel Martellini.

About Anil Suri

Anil Suri is Managing Director and Head of Portfolio Construction & Investment Analytics at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Anil leads the development of frameworks and solutions for portfolio construction and management, retirement investing, goals-based wealth management, asset allocation, and performance measurement across traditional, market-linked and alternative investments. Anil has been with Merrill Lynch since 2004, when he led investment strategy in the Alternative Investments area and was a Senior Investment Strategist on the Merrill Lynch Research Investment Committee (RIC).

Anil’s research has been published in the Journal of Wealth Management and discussed in Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. His prior experience includes roles as a senior AI strategist at Citigroup, trader at Credit Suisse and management consultant at McKinsey. Anil earned an M.B.A. with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S.E. from Princeton University and a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology at Delhi.