Lighting the Way
Margaret Callihan Guides SunTrust’s Regional Team
|Steve Allen, Manuel Perez-Carrillo and Margaret Callihan|
Margaret L. Callihan believes that banking is all about people – understanding a client’s financial needs and finding the appropriate solutions for individuals, families and firms. “In today’s complex world, no one banker can provide all that a client needs,” says Callihan, who is president, Miami/South Florida Division, SunTrust Bank in Fort Lauderdale. “It takes a team approach, led by a quarterback, to be sure everything is covered.”
With a legal specialty group, a private wealth management group and a full array of retail and commercial services delivered through 115 branches in six South Florida counties, SunTrust Bank has the resources – both people and technology – to serve the region’s attorneys and their clients. Headquartered in Atlanta with approximately $190 billion in assets, SunTrust Banks, Inc. is dedicated to “Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being” for its clients and communities.
“We believe the key to serving law firms and attorneys is to understand their practices, their cash flows and their goals,” Callihan says. “Once we know where the firm is, then our team can chart a solid path for them.”
A Diverse Banking Career
Callihan earned her bachelor’s and MBA degrees at Vanderbilt University, and started her banking career in 1978 at Third National Bank in Tennessee. “After I graduated, I went to work for the Country Music Foundation, which has a tremendous archive of music and memorabilia right on Nashville’s Music Row,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed the music industry, but wanted to do something else with my career, so I joined Third National Bank.”
In the early 1980s, Callihan and a former colleague created a specialty banking practice at Third National Bank – which merged with SunTrust Bank in 1986 – that focused on serving musicians, songwriters, producers and other members of Nashville’s music industry. The experience of building a specialty banking practice helped open doors for Callihan, who later became business manager for retail and private banking for Tennessee and Alabama, and then chief executive officer of the Chattanooga region. Callihan moved to Florida in 2005 as president of SunTrust’s Southwest Florida region, and assumed her current position in South Florida in January 2013.
“I have enjoyed every place I’ve worked, and always made it a point to get involved in my community,” says Callihan. She currently serves on the boards for United Way of Broward County, Channel 2 -WPBT, Broward Performing Arts Foundation and the Museum of Discovery and Science. “In keeping with our purpose of lighting the way to financial well-being, we partner with not-for-profits and community organizations that are helping to advance financial education for all groups in South Florida,” she says.
Her diverse experience has made Callihan keenly aware of the benefits that specialized banking delivers. “Allowing teammates to focus on a distinct client segment or industry allows them to develop deep industry knowledge that translates into value that clients recognize and leads to a much richer client experience,” says Callihan.
Wealth Management Services
In keeping with SunTrust’s team approach, the bank’s South Florida region offers wealth management services to high-net-worth individuals and families from Miami to Vero Beach. “Our local wealth management teams work closely with South Florida attorneys, accountants and other advisors in developing financial strategies for our mutual clients,” says Manuel (Manny) Perez-Carrillo, executive vice president and head of South Florida’s Private Wealth Management business. Perez-Carrillo, who is based in Coral Gables, has more than 33 years of banking experience and oversees the 75-person division with eight offices in the region.
Perez-Carrillo says SunTrust hosts an educational program for South Florida attorneys and accountants, including “lunch-and-learn” sessions for continuing education credit. One recent event featured a talk by Akerman partner Richard Milstein on the latest legal developments relating to gay marriage.
In addition to its general wealth practice, SunTrust Private Wealth Management has specialty verticals that serve the unique needs of certain clients. The SunTrust Medical Specialty Group serves physicians and medical practices, the Sports and Entertainment Group works with athletes, musicians and members of the entertainment industry, and the International Wealth Management Group assists clients who have invested in the U.S. economy but are not U.S. residents or citizens. As Perez-Carrillo says, “Our clients are seeking a high level of expertise and industry knowledge, and those specializations allow us to deliver that service.”
A Legal Specialty Group
SunTrust takes a full-service approach to serving attorneys and law firms of all sizes, according to Steve Allen, managing director and head of the Private Wealth Management Legal Specialty Group. “Our chief focus is the middle-market law firms with $5 to $100 million in revenue,” he says. “We have a great one-stop value proposition for them.”
Since launching the legal specialty group in 2005, SunTrust has built a model designed to serve four types of clients: the law firm, the partners (attorneys with an ownership stake), the associates (attorneys without an ownership share) and the staff members, including the chief executive or chief operating officer.
At the firm level, SunTrust provides lending, depository, treasury management, and 401(k) advisory services, says Allen. Partners can benefit from financial planning, investment and insurance advice, mortgage and home equity loans, and wealth management services. “Associates may need advice on buying homes, replacing cars or setting up a repayment plan for their law school debt,” Allen adds. “We also work closely with our retail branches to deliver at-work services to the staffers, associates and partners.”
Allen adds that SunTrust’s ability to offer a full package of financial services can also be a recruiting and retention tool for law firms’ human resource departments. “Having convenient access to financial planning and wealth management services is a major benefit for junior and senior partners,” he adds. “We know how to help them monetize their professional careers.”
Allen says that most attorneys today are under-insured. For instance, a typical group life plan might offer $1 million in survivor benefits, but a multi-million dollar policy might be necessary to protect a family with a comfortable lifestyle. “I’m always surprised by the number of our new attorney clients who don’t have wills,” Allen adds. “We can come into a firm, identify those kinds of financial needs and offer solutions that provide greater financial security.”
To help attorneys make sound decisions regarding retirement, SunTrust’s advisors use SunTrust SummitView®, the bank’s financial planning. “SummitView allows clients to work with their advisor to create a goals-based financial plan,” says Perez-Carrillo. “Clients can then track their progress and run scenarios to stress-test their financial plan against a variety of factors, including market volatility, the impact of outsized medical expenses and the possibility of living to 100.”
With SummitView, SunTrust also offers attorneys and clients a “virtual vault” with highly secure cloud-based storage of wills, financial plans, life insurance policies, passports, birth certificates and other key documents. As Callihan says, “This is one of the ways SunTrust Bank brings technology and people together to provide high-value services to law firms, attorneys, staffers and other professionals.”
South Florida Legal Guide 2015 Financial Edition