$6-Mln Merrill Team Breaks Away to Launch RIA in Pennsylvania
Another multi-million dollar Merrill Lynch team has left the “thundering herd,” this time striking out on their own in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
The team, including four associates, had been managing $1.2 billion in client assets and generated around $6 million in annual revenue, according to the announcement and a spokesperson for Dynasty Financial Partners, a service provider that the team used in launching the RIA.
Matt Liebman said in a prepared statement that they opted to leave the wirehouse because they felt they would have more freedom to choose how to serve clients by operating their own firm.
“We were content at our former firm, and our growth over the past several years has been tremendous,” he said in the statement. “But two years ago, we started the due diligence process out of our commitment to always try to do more and do better for our clients and their families.”
Liebman, who is maintaining a brokerage license through Albany, NY-based Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, could not immediately be reached for additional comment. He joined his father’s practice at Merrill in 2008 after working in asset management, and was ranked #72 on this year on Forbes’ list of the best advisors in Pennsylvania, according to his team biography.
Sam Liebman started his career at Prudential Securities predecessor Bache & Co. in 1970, moved to UBS Wealth Management USA in 1992 and joined Merrill in 2007. Marks began his career at Merrill in 2011, and Swift started at Merrill in 2016 after a rookie year at Axa Advisors, according to BrokerCheck.
Their exit adds to a list of departures from Merrill so far this year that–including the Liebman group–represented over $40 million in combined production at their former firm and have shifted to a variety of competitors, according to a review of reported moves.
The departures include a team said to be generating $3 million in revenue who moved to Rockefeller Capital Management in Newport Beach, California, on Friday as well as a $2 million producer in Dallas who also on Friday joined a registered investment advisory firm founded by another Merrill émigré.
Rockefeller two weeks ago hired a four-person Merrill team generating $2.5 million in revenue in Denver. It also landed a $2.2 million Merrill team in Chicago and a $3.3 million Florida team from the wirehouse in January.
Another $2 million producing manager and his partner left last week to join a New Jersey-based RIA.
Almost two weeks ago, one of Merrill’s top advisors in Alabama, Robert Runkle, took his $4.4 million team to Morgan Stanley. Earlier in February, Morgan Stanley also scooped up a $7.5 million team led by veteran Lawrence W. Catena and hired a longtime Merrill team in New Jersey that had been managing $500 million. In January, it lured two Merrill lifers in Maryland who were generating $2.6 million in annual revenue.
In late January, another Merrill team that was managing $1.3 billion and generating $4.6 million in revenue joined Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in Dallas, and a million-dollar producer, Christopher J. Collins, in the Chicago suburbs, joined RBC Wealth Management in February.
A Merrill spokesperson said he could not immediately comment on the $40 million figure or the individual move.
Merrill halted its veteran broker recruiting efforts in 2017 as it looked to escape the costly hiring practice. It has maintained the freeze even as Morgan Stanley and UBS Wealth Management USA have revived their own efforts as executives have said the focus on developing its existing sales force is paying off.
Merrill had around 14,000 brokers in its wealth unit in mid-2019 but no longer reports that headcount separately from around 3,000 bank-based brokers at its Bank of America’s Merrill Edge unit.