Michael Liersch, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Head of Behavioral Finance & Goals-Based Consulting, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Michael Liersch
Michael Liersch is head of Behavioral Finance and Goals-Based Consulting for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and is a member of the firm’s client and advisor development team. In this role, he leads behavioral finance and goals-based wealth management initiatives focused on tailoring investment advice to address the unique needs, concerns and goals of high net worth, ultra high net worth and institutional clients.
In collaboration with their advisors, Michael works closely with individuals, families, investment committees and boards across the country to put clients, rather than the market, at the center of the investment process – helping to frame conversations and structure investment strategies and solutions around the quantitative and qualitative aspects of a client’s goals.

In 2012, Michael created Merrill Lynch’s Investment Personality Assessment, a proprietary tool to help advisors initiate more compelling discussions with clients about the intent of their wealth and recommend financial strategies aligned to their unique goals, risk tolerance, feelings and attitude toward investing, and outcomes that are personally meaningful. Since its introduction, Merrill Lynch advisors have used this innovative tool with over 100,000 clients. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Michael led the behavioral finance initiative at Barclays Wealth for North and South America. Earlier in his career, Michael was a director of research at Behavioral Research Associates, a consultant at Deloitte Consulting, and a visiting Professor
at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Michael has published extensive academic and industry research on family wealth sustainability, young investors, women and investing, group decision making and more. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in Cognitive Psychology, and holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.