Steven C.  Merrell

Steven C. Merrell

Partner, Co-Founder, and CCO

Get to Know Steve:

What do you enjoy most about working in wealth management? 

I love helping people do things that make a real difference in their lives. 

Which of your skills do you find most helpful in your work?

I was fortunate to spend the first part of my career managing institutional portfolios at a division of American Express. I worked with excellent colleagues and mentors who taught me the disciplines required to manage an investment portfolio successfully. I draw on these skills daily as I work with client portfolios.

What is the best part of working at Monterey Private Wealth?

I truly enjoy working with our clients and my colleagues. There is no finer group of people in the world. 

What is the best financial advice you have ever received?

When I was first out of college, I asked a very successful businessman the same question. He said to pay yourself first. Too often, people pay their bills and then hope to have something leftover to put into savings. He said it is much smarter to save first and then live on the leftover. That wasn’t always easy, but it has made all the difference in my financial life. 

How have you been involved in your community?

I am very involved in my church and Rotary. Over the years, I have also served on several community boards.

What do you love doing outside of work?

I love to sail on our beautiful Monterey Bay. I also enjoy hiking in the mountains and have scaled several peaks in California, Colorado, and Washington. 

Education and Accreditations:

  • Steve is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF©), and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

  • Steve graduated with a BA in Economics from Brigham Young University.

  • Steve graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Brigham Young University.


Expertise and Experience:

  • Before establishing Monterey Private Wealth, Steve was the founder and chief investment officer of Willow Ridge Capital Advisors, recognized as one of the top 500 wealth managers in the nation by Wealth Manager Magazine

  • Before Willow Ridge, Steve was a senior portfolio manager at American Express where he managed institutional portfolios with assets totaling more than $10 billion.

  • During Steve’s tenure at American Express, he met and planned with global government and business leaders, including the president of Hungary, the former prime minister of Russia, as well as finance ministers and central bankers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Kenya, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea.  In 1999, Lipper Analytic recognized Steve’s primary fund, the AXP VP Bond Fund, as the top fund in its category for the decade of the 1990s. 



    *Please Note: Limitations. The achievement of any professional designation, certification, degree, or license, recognition by publications, media, or other organizations, membership in any professional organization, or any amount of prior experience or success, should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results or satisfaction if Monterey Private Wealth, Inc. is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services.