The Leeder Wealth Management Group

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

1020 Marsh St
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 596.2236
Learn more about an advisor's background on
We bring an uncommon measure of acumen and attention to clients whose aspirations and values demand both. Our mission? To serve the best interests of people from all walks of life, with strategies as unique as they are.
The Leeder Wealth Management Group
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

After a career in the technology industry, Michael joined Merrill in 2004. He has never looked back. Instead, Michael provides clients with a disciplined planning-based approach that helps them look forward to goals that hold meaning to them and the people they love.

Michael has attracted a loyal and growing clientele in the Bay Area, Central California and more than 20 other states. Proud to be their “first call” for questions and decisions, he strongly believes that the trust he earns and the referrals he receives are evidence of his ability to be devoted caretaker of clients’ best interests.
Michael has a deep understanding of the factors associated with employees holding company stock, professional women, physicians, and members of the LGBTQ community. Backed by the investment insights of Merrill and the banking services of Bank of America, he delivers value that extends well beyond risk-managed investments – to tax minimization and estate planning strategies, liability management, business succession and intergenerational wealth planning.
When appropriate, Michael may introduce clients to alternative investments\* – an area in which he has significant experience. In addition to incorporating what may be a combination real estate, hedge funds and private debt in clients’ portfolios, we have access to the leading and most recognizable firms in private equity. We feel this allows clients to benefit from non-correlated assets that we deem attractive, affordable and likely to offer reduced volatility.
Michael is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ CFP® certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Southern California.
Michael and his family were touched by cancer years ago and have raised awareness and money ever since:
  • In August 2023, he organized and sponsored “Crushing Cancer for Kids,” a first-of-its-kind pickleball tournament in San Luis Obispo that raised over $13,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation – a national organization that has donated more than $250 million to pediatric cancer research. Plans are already underway for 2024 and similar efforts before then.
  • Since 2019, he has been an active board member of Little Wishes, which grants the immediate and ongoing wishes of hospitalized children.
  • In 2018, he helped raise $38,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
  • He and his family actively volunteer with “Jack’s Helping Hand” – which provides patients and families with funds for travel-related medical costs. Michael’s son is a junior counselor and his wife, Sara, is a volunteer at its Camp Reach for the Stars.

Michael has also been a champion of community-focused endeavors. He is:

  • Co-founder of Bytes for Bits, an after-school program in the Bay Area that teaches the fundamentals of software coding.
  • An active member of the San Luis Obispo Community Foundation.
  • Board Member for the Central Coast Economic Forecast.
  • Co-Founder of the California Central Coast Estate Planning Council
  • Member of the Advisory Council for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
  • A 13-year participant and a former regional board member with Junior Achievement. Michael taught the JA curriculum and financial literacy each year and was named 2019 Volunteer of the Year in the Bay Area.

*Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. **Some or all alternative investment programs may not be in the best interest of certain investors. No assurance can be given that any alternative investment’s investment objectives will be achieved.

Planning for Wealth Transfer
About Us

Michael Leeder has earned his stripes –and a diverse circle of referred clients – for his ability to help successful people meet meaningful goals for themselves and the people they love.

The clients he serves come from all walks of life – near and far – and took different paths to his door. Many are accomplished "wealth accumulators" in the Bay Area. Others are successful business owners, physicians, landowners and tradespeople in Central California. Yet another group of clients resides in more than 20 other states – having been referred by clients who've been with him for more than a decade.

Regardless of their location, level of wealth, or financial sophistication, Michael's clients are serious about money, as is he. In each relationship, Michael brings his financial skills, open heart and mind. Michael is well aware of the role he plays and the trust he must earn.

Michael Leeder is a highly regarded and experienced Merrill veteran with roots in the technology industry and a long history of spearheading support for worthy causes. Since 2004, he has addressed the complex issues facing founders, serial entrepreneurs, and pre- and post-IPO employees at technology and biotech firms. Michael also works closely with many "millionaires next door" who are building their nest egg and see it as their "ticket" to a well-deserved lifestyle in retirement.

He explains, "It's so rewarding to make a lasting impact on the wealth and happiness of families that have sacrificed and saved. I enjoy meeting with couples in my office, hearing their stories, and sharing mine. There's no substitute for handshakes and hugs."

Ultimately, Michael does his best work for clients who value his insights and efforts. It would be Michael's privilege to discuss how he can serve your best interests.

Meet Our Team
Michael Leeder,


Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor
Crystal Gonzalez
Wealth Management Client Associate - Resident Director Assistant
Additional Resources
The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.
Rachel Kanter
Investment Solutions Group Portfolio Strategist
Bank of America, N.A.
Ross Morand
Alternative Investments Regional Specialist
Bank of America, N.A.
Ally Bowdoin
Wealth Strategies Advisor
Bank of America, N.A.
About Merrill

Bringing fresh perspectives to your financial life

The financial decisions you make today can help determine the future you build for yourself and your family. Carving a clear path forward starts with connecting your life and finances. A Merrill advisor provides access to the investing insights of Merrill and banking capabilities of Bank of America to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your goals.

Sign Up for Perspectives Monthly E-Newsletter
Get the latest investment insights, tips and strategies to help you live your best financial life
Sign Up
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and the CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.