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Focus Stories

Sponsored by Merrill the Burke Cox Potter Group

by Kevin Fritz

Featured Photo from Sponsored by Merrill the Burke Cox Potter Group

For the past 19 years, they have been the top wealth-management team for Merrill in Central Florida. The Burke Cox Potter Group of Lake Mary owes much of its success to its senior partners, both recently recognized in two highly influential financial publications.

The latest rankings released by Forbes and Barron’s recognize wealth-management advisors Kenneth J. Burke, the Burke Cox Potter Group’s leader who originally founded the group in 2000, and Brian J. Cox, senior vice president and a 37-year veteran. Brian was named to the Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list in 20211, ranking 48th, while Ken was named to the Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” list in 2021.2 He ranked #27.

Ken and Brian met when they both started out with Merrill Lynch in 1986 and 1984, respectively, in the downtown Orlando office. In 1988, Ken was selected to manage the Longwood office and was later succeeded in this role by Brian in 1990. In the year 2000, Brian stepped back from management, and they agreed to combine their businesses and support staff, believing they could better serve their clients and grow their business as a team. In 2018, 32-year veteran Jim Potter joined the team to form the present-day Burke Cox Potter Group.

The Founder
A 1981 Florida State graduate, Ken made his first foray into the business world in both sales and management with Southwestern Company. In 1986, he was hired on at Merrill Lynch and began prospecting as a rookie advisor.

“I am very passionate about what I do,” Ken says. “I enjoy working with people, and the most important piece of advice I can give someone is to establish goals, quantify them, and work to achieve them every day.”

Ken’s long-range planning has paid off with sons Garrett (a Notre Dame graduate) joining Merrill Lynch in 2011 and Brendan (North Carolina) in 2015 as financial advisors. They are a close-knit family and team, so much so that Brian was at the hospital the day Garrett was born while Ken was keeping appointments that day to open new accounts.

“I love working with my two sons and our client associates,” says Ken, who turned 63 in June.

Married to Mary Pat Burke since 1983, they have five children and seven grandchildren.

“Ken has a discipline and focus that few people possess,” notes Brian. “He has used those skills to help our clients achieve their financial goals with the advice he has provided.”

This is the 13th consecutive year Ken has been ranked in Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors.”

Friend and Partner
Brian’s path began at the University of North Carolina where he earned a degree in business administration in 1979. His first job out of college was with General Electric where he worked in both sales and management. Five years later, Brian elected to make a career change and entered financial services as an account executive with Merrill Lynch in Orlando. It was there that he and Ken met and began a 35-year friendship.

Brian, also 63, lives in Heathrow with his wife, Linda. Brian has two adult children and three grandchildren and has been active on the board of The Sharing Center in Longwood for the past eight years.

“I believe we have the best job in the world,” he says. “Everyone wants to know what the future holds, and investing is about being able to look forward, not backward. People are looking for someone they can trust to serve as their advocate and give them good advice. That’s what we do.”

1Source: The Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list, February 11, 2021. Data provided by SHOOKTM Research, LLC. Data as of June 30, 2020. The Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings to evaluate each advisor qualitatively, a major component of a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC and not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Rankings and recognition from Forbes are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a current or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance results, and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives compensation in exchange for placement on the ranking. Forbes is a trademark of Forbes Media LLC. All rights reserved.
2Source: The Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” list, March 12, 2021. The Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors” ranking considered advisors with a minimum of seven years financial services experience and have been employed at their current firm for at least one year. This is a list of the top advisors in each state, with the number of ranking spots determined by each state’s population and wealth. Other quantitative and qualitative measures include assets under management, revenues generated by advisors for their firms, and the quality of the advisors’ practices, regulatory records, internal company documents, and 100-plus points of data provided by the advisors themselves. Rankings and recognition from Barron’s are no guarantee of future investment success and do not ensure that a current or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance results, and such rankings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor. Barron’s is a trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
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