Interview With Merrill Lynch Managing Director Thomas Kane


Thomas Kane is a Chicago-based financial executive who serves as a Managing Director and Private Wealth Manager at Merrill Private Wealth Management.  Outside of his work, he lends much of his time to supporting various charitable causes, including serving as President of Friends of the IDF.

Tom Kane recently answered our questions about himself, his charitable work and how technology has heightened public interest in giving.

Can you tell us a bit more about you and your background?

Tom Kane: Sure, I have worked in the financial industry for over two decades and am currently a Managing Director and Private Wealth Manager at Merrill Private Wealth Management.  After earning my MBA with a concentration in finance and accounting, I joined a prominent Chicago based family office, working in a CIO function. From there, I joined Lehman Brothers Private Wealth Management alongside Mike Covey and Mark Wiktor. As of June 2017, I transitioned to Merrill Private Wealth Management with Mike and Mark to meet the growing needs of our clientele.  Outside of my career responsibilities, I am active in the non-profit community and enjoy giving back to charitable causes, especially ones that are focused on education and helping those most in need.

In your view, what are some of the technologies that have fostered innovation and growth with respect to the non-profit industry?

Tom Kane: Over the past two decades, we have witnessed a real increase in technology solutions that help nonprofits and community organizations leverage data and efficiency and manage teams, all at the same time. Just like in the private sector, nonprofits and charity organizations have started to streamline their operations through software solutions, using data to create more efficient processes and free up time.  What that means is, simply, many organizations have traded their spreadsheet-based systems for more intelligent and user-friendly technology in order to raise funding, among other areas.

How do you think technology has impacted the way donors approach giving?  Is it more convenient?

Tom Kane: Yes, I think convenience has something to do with it, but technology has also provided easy tools for researching and funding charitable projects and organizations. Now, donors have more options for how and where to give, and they can even track their donations if they choose to.  The philanthropic space is no longer limited to writing big checks; instead, technological advances make it easier to collect small donations from many people, through social media or a mobile device.

What advice can you give other CEOs as it relates to building and maintaining a philanthropic focus?

Tom Kane:  CEOs and executive leaders need to create a culture of philanthropy within their own organizational staff.  Everyone from board members to management to staff has a part to play in raising awareness for an outside cause.  To me, it’s about forming relationships and working together first, and then raising money and awareness comes naturally.


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