Corrections or additions?

This article by Evelyn Goldin was prepared for the December 6,

2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

The Family that Trades Together: The Gould Group

Three brokers have left Merrill Lynch Private Client

Group on Nassau Street and moved down the street to another brokerage

office, Prudential Securities. This announcement, that brokers are

leaving one company and going to another, is hardly unusual. But these

new hires — all senior vice presidents — are three women,

a mother-daughter-daughter partnership, and that is unusual.

New at Prudential Securities are Audrey S. Gould and her two


Georgeanne Gould Moss and Ellen Gould Baber. They make up the Gould

Group, a partnership with a unique mother-daughter-daughter


in a field still dominated by men.

Declining to say why they left Merrill Lynch, the trio say only that

Prudential had offered "a tremendous amount of support in terms

of our client needs."

"We are disappointed they are leaving, and we wish them good


says Joe Cohen, a Merrill Lynch spokesperson.

Interviewed before their November 7 resignation, the three women sit

in a tight triangle, Audrey and Ellen together in a small office and

Georgeanne visible through an open window just behind her mother’s

desk. They are all close enough to speak in conversational tones,

so close that in some families, the ties that bind would quickly wear

quite thin.

Yet the Goulds appear to thrive on their close working relationship.

"Look — we argue like any family would argue. Of course we

do," says Audrey Gould, a senior vice president and financial

consultant. "But basically we’re all for one and one for all."

The three Goulds all live in Princeton, only miles apart, and they

maintain a close relationship both in and out of the office.


and Ellen consider each other to be best friends and all three have

dinner together with or without their families two or three times

a week. Georgeanne joined her mother seven years ago, and Ellen has

been with the group for nearly two years.

The dynamic works successfully enough that, at Merrill Lynch, the

Gould Group managed more than $600 million in assets for a client

group made up of individuals, corporations, and non-profit


putting the Gould Group in the top tier of Merrill Lynch’s 14,000

financial consultants.

One key to the Gould Group’s success, says Audrey Gould, is that each

of her daughters succeeded individually before joining with her to

form the group. "They proved their abilities long before they

joined me," she says. And "they both have individual


she adds. "That’s important before you do anything together as

a team."

Georgeanne, a vice president and financial consultant, had been a

senior attorney for Merrill Lynch’s compliance and litigation


as well as an attorney for the debt and equity market group.


began her legal career as an associate at the law firm of Schatz &

Schatz, Ribicoff & Kotkin in Connecticut.

Georgeanne is a graduate of Barnard College where she majored in


science. She earned a law degree at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law

and served as an intern for Mario Cuomo, then governor of New York.

Displeased with the adversarial nature of her legal work, Georgeanne

was surprised, but happy, when her mother suggested they work


"Mom made the offer for me to work with her, and we never thought

about it prior to that time," Georgeanne says. "Merrill was

very happy to see me move to her, because her business was growing

and she needed help." Georgeanne, mother of an eight-month-old

son, is married to a labor and employment attorney who practices in

New York City.

Ellen, a financial consultant, has worked in financial services for

15 years. She began her career at Merrill Lynch and worked in senior

marketing and training positions at several other major Wall Street

firms before joining her mother and sister to form the Gould Group.

Ellen graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with

a bachelor of arts degree in history. And what prompted her decision

to join the Gould Group? "Why work for Mom? It was a great


Ellen says. "Working with your mother and your sister — people

you trust — in a learning environment like this is fabulous,"

she adds.

Ellen has a 10-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter and her husband

is a senior vice president and head of sales and marketing for the

international division of a New York City securities firm.

While Georgeanne and Ellen stand as archetypes of


modern women, their mother is in many ways an anomaly, fighting the

odds and the stereotypes of an earlier generation to gain entry into

a field that she found fascinating from an early age. What’s even

more unusual is that she came to this business at age 49, a time that

finds most professionals settled in their careers, not making dramatic

job changes.

Audrey Gould attended the University of Pennsylvania, where her


in undergraduate business studies was discouraged as unladylike.


she graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in orthoptics,

and worked first for the director of ophthalmology at Detroit’s Kresge

Eye Institute and then as director of the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital

Orthoptic Clinic in New Brunswick. Orthoptics is a health care field

specializing in the diagnosis and management of disorders of eye


and associated vision problems.

Along the way, she married Kenneth J. Gould, a former pediatrician

who is now a full clinical professor of psychiatry at the Robert Wood

Johnson Medical School. Georgeanne and Ellen are their only children.

Despite a solid career in the eye-care field, Audrey Gould never lost

sight of her true passion — finance. Audrey’s own mother always

worked outside the home, helping her husband run the family’s small

chain of department stores based in Rock Hill, New York. But more

instrumental to Audrey’s later life, her mother also bought and sold

stocks for her own portfolio, providing a strong financial role model

for her young daughter.

"My mother was a very successful investor," Gould says.


was an unselfish, uncomplaining, dynamic woman who could get anything


Audrey’s interest in the stock market grew when she spent time in

New York City with her aunt and uncle, who owned two seats on the

New York Stock Exchange. "I heard them talking about stocks and

bonds, and I thought `why couldn’t I do that?’"

Even though she was shut out of studying business at college, Audrey

Gould did learn the ropes of business early on, playing a key role

in the family business when her father fell ill.

As a young woman dealing with vendors who thought they could take

advantage of her youth and female status, "I had to get smart

quick," Gould says, noting that the future of the family business

largely depended on her abilities. "My mother and I kept the


going," she adds.

Decades later, with her daughters off to college, Audrey Gould decided

against all odds to make a career change into the financial field,

finally fulfilling a long-held dream. Hired by Merrill Lynch as a

financial consultant, she initiated a series of lunchtime financial

seminars, teaching investing basics to retirees, university employees,

and anyone else interested in a sandwich, a soft drink, and the


of a stock or a bond.

"At that time, it was quite unique. I became known as the tuna

fish lady," Gould says, recalling the seminars she held in Merrill

Lynch’s basement.

From those humble beginnings, Gould built a powerful client base that

now spans the globe. Many of these clients, she says, have left the

Merrill Lynch Private Client Group to come with the Gould Group to

Prudential. She counts more men than women among her clients and in

many cases, if the wives were Audrey’s clients initially, their


soon followed. Many successful men, she says, would give their wives

money to invest just as a learning experience.

"But," says Gould, "when the wife’s portfolio started

doing better than the husband’s, the husband also became my


— Evelyn Goldin

Prudential Securities, 138 Nassau Street, Princeton

08542. 609-430-1878; 609-683-5321. The Gould Group,


Previous Story Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments