20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch.

The family practice has two silos of business, the first is working with families in wealth management and financial planning where he focuses on all aspects of the client’s lives including, financial plan development, retirement and education planning, insurance planning, estate planning and finding risk-appropriate investment solutions.

The second silo is acting as consultants for company retirement plans, endowments and foundations. “This is a unique practice within Merrill Lynch as there are only 85 of the approximately 17,000 advisors in the firm who are designated as Global Institutional Consultants,” said Bender, who along with his father, is a local consultant.

“We are fortunate to be able to use the knowledge and experience gained working with our institutional clients to deliver similar investment solutions and risk management to our wealth management clients,” he said.

His father — also William H. Bender — has been a financial advisor since the 1980s and is his son’s mentor. Bender II went to Fairfield University for his finance degree and began working for Merrill Lynch in Hopewell, New Jersey where he became licensed.

In 2006, he returned home to work with his father — just in time for the 2008 financial crisis. From 2009 on the family business has grown the team to nine employees and helped 200 families and 40 institutions.

Living by the philosophy that family comes first, he said his entire family has been his lifelong support system including his parents, siblings and cousins. For the past 10 years his wife, Christin, has also been a great supporter in his life and says his success would not be possible without her. He loves coming home to her and their three children — Emily, Liam and Callie.

He is also a member of the Scranton Prep‘s Alumni Board of Governors and St. Joseph’s Center Foundation Board and is most proud of his work with the SJC Foundation board in an initiative called “The Young Professionals Group.”

“We have organized many events to try and raise money for the center, baby pantry and Trinity Day Care. Our goal was to try and get a new generation of people educated on everything SJC does for our community and the financial needs required to continue doing all they do.

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