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