Jonathan Rao
,
Senior Vice President, Resident Director
13135 Dairy Ashford Rd
Sugar Land, TX 77478
281.490.1668
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Whatever your personal goals may be, I will work together with you, one-on-one, to develop a personalized financial strategy designed to help you pursue your long-term goals.
Profile

Jonathan is celebrating 20 years at Merrill and relationships with clients that span generations of their families in the Houston area and around the world. An accomplished and credentialed professional, he has earned the trust of successful business owners, executives and other ambitious individuals whose complex financial needs demand the attention and skills of a seasoned advisor.

Jonathan feels that he is highly respected by clients and the industry alike. He was named to Forbes “Best-in-State Advisors” List in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 (Published annually Jan - April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.)

While Jonathan’s clients are financially astute, he makes a point to educate at every opportunity. More than happy to explain a long-term strategy or the market’s behavior, as examples, to clients and their children, he finds tremendous value in “teachable moments” where financial strategies can be understood and appreciated.

Jonathan believes that “going the extra mile for clients is never going out of his way.” To help optimize results, he scrutinizes clients’ financial and legal documents and areas of their financial pictures that may have been ignored in a previous advisory relationship. Only then, does he build a client’s investment, liability management, tax minimization and estate planning strategy – often by coordinating with their CPA and attorney.

“I enjoy helping people put their money to work. Clients are referred to us for the rigor, experience and attention they might find in a family office,” Jonathan says. “What they might not expect is that our ages, interests and experiences align nicely with theirs. This allows us to cultivate relationships where discussions are comfortable, not a formality. Our structure is informal, but our approach is highly disciplined.”

Even after decades in the industry, Jonathan continues to be fascinated by clients – their stories of struggle, success, and lessons learned along the way. He enjoys helping clients make important financial decisions at critical times – moving to a work-optional lifestyle, the sale of their enterprise, or managing the financial affairs of family members.

Jonathan finds that his rigorous and ongoing industry training allows him to provide an extra measure of knowledge and know-how. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Texas A&M University and is a donor to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation. He is also a committee member of the Children’s Discovery Center of Fort Bend, and a Director for the JRM Foundation.

Jonathan and his wife, Melinda, are third-generation Houstonians and reside in Sugarland. Jonathan’s devotion to his alma mater takes on epic proportions when he and Melinda, (a University of Texas graduate) travel to football games or sit down to watch with their three children. Jonathan also enjoys playing golf, hunting and saltwater fishing on his boat in Galveston.

*Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list. Opinions provided by SHOOK® Research, LLC and is based on in-person, virtual and telephone due-diligence meetings that measure best practices, client retention, industry experience, credentials, compliance records, firm nominations, assets under management and Firm-generated revenue (investment performance is not a criterion). SHOOK’s rankings are available for client evaluation only, are not indicative of future performance and do not represent any one client’s experience and available for investor help in evaluating the right financial advisor. Compensation was not received from anyone for the study. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Details available at the SHOOK Research website. SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC.

Recognition
Forbes "Best-in-State Wealth Advisors", 2021-2022
(Published annually Jan – April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.)
Click here to learn more about advisor recognitions
About Me
Welcome

Jonathan is celebrating 20 years at Merrill and relationships with clients that span generations of their families in the Houston area and around the world. An accomplished and credentialed professional, he has earned the trust of successful business owners, executives and other ambitious individuals whose complex financial needs demand the attention and skills of a seasoned advisor.
Jonathan is highly respected by clients and the industry alike. He was named to Forbes "Best-in-State Advisors" List in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 (Published annually Jan - April. Rankings based on data as of June 30 of prior year.)
While Jonathan's clients are financially astute, he makes a point to educate at every opportunity. More than happy to explain a long-term strategy or the market's behavior, as examples, to clients and their children, he finds tremendous value in "teachable moments" where financial strategies can be understood and appreciated.
Jonathan believes that "going the extra mile for clients is never going out of his way." To help optimize results, he scrutinizes clients' financial and legal documents and areas of their financial pictures that may have been ignored in a previous advisory relationship. Only then, does he build a client's investment, liability management, tax minimization and estate planning strategy – often by coordinating with their CPA and attorney.
"I enjoy helping people put their money to work. Clients are referred to us for the rigor, expertise and attention they might find in a family office," Jonathan says. "What they might not expect is that our ages, interests and experiences align nicely with theirs. This allows us to cultivate relationships where discussions are comfortable, not a formality. Our structure is informal, but our approach is highly disciplined."
Even after decades in the industry, Jonathan continues to be fascinated by clients – their stories of struggle, success, and lessons learned along the way. He enjoys helping clients make important financial decisions at critical times – moving to a work-optional lifestyle, the sale of their enterprise, or managing the financial affairs of family members.
Jonathan finds that his rigorous and ongoing industry training allows him to provide an extra measure of knowledge and know-how. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
Jonathan holds a Bachelor's degree in Business from Texas A&M University and is a donor to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation. He is also a committee member of the Children's Discovery Center of Fort Bend, and a Board Member for the JRM Foundation.
Jonathan and his wife, Melinda, are third-generation Houstonians and reside in Sugarland. Jonathan's devotion to his alma mater takes on epic proportions when he and Melinda, (a University of Texas graduate) travel to football games or sit down to watch with their three children. Jonathan also enjoys playing golf, hunting and saltwater fishing on his boat in Galveston.

Meet Our Professional Staff
Kurt C Schwenkel,

CRPC™

Senior Wealth Planner
281.866.6333
Christine Brandewie
Registered Wealth Management Client Associate
281.866.6311
Cindy Ann Ough,

CDFA®, CRPC™

Relationship Manager
281.866.6328
Kensie R Hunt
Registered Senior Wealth Management Client Associate
281.866.6322
Jennifer M Toler
Wealth Management Client Associate - Resident Director Assistant
281.866.6339
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.

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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.
Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™, CRPC™, and the CRPC™ logo are certification marks or registered certification marks of The College for Financial Planning Institutes Corp. in the United States.
Jonathan Rao is registered to do business in AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.