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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Why a $1B+ Multigenerational Merrill Team Left the Big Brand

Matt Liebman, founding partner and CEO of RIA firm Amplius Wealth Advisors, discusses the complexity of considering change with a multigenerational team, the difficulty of walking away from a big brand name, the concept of clients being the real 'boss' and how that influenced his choice to build an independent firm.


There’s one thing that just about every breakaway advisor we’ve spoken with says about leaving the wirehouses: It’s difficult to rationalize walking away from a well-established, respected and recognized brand name.

Because for some, the name was one of the key features that attracted them to the firm in the first place.

Take Matt Liebman, for example. When he joined Merrill in 2008, one of the draws for him was the brand recognition. As he shares in this episode, “If someone asked where you worked, all you needed to say was ‘Merrill Lynch’ and they automatically knew what you did for a living.”

Matt is quick to note that the reputation of the firm was well earned through a strong training program and an entrepreneurial environment where clients felt well served and advisors could build strong businesses.

And build a strong business he did—to some $1.2 billion in assets under management.

He was part of a powerhouse multigenerational team comprising individuals in their 20s on through to their 90s! It was an intentional coming together of forces—with Matt joining his dad, Sam Liebman, and his team after they moved to Merrill from UBS, and Forbes “Top Next-Gen Advisor” Aaron Marks rounding out the ranks to form the Liebman Marks Group.

Yet in March 2021, they opted to leave Merrill and build their own RIA firm, Amplius Wealth Advisors, with Dynasty Financial Partners.

With a team as successful as this, one might wonder, “Why would they rock the boat?”

In this episode, Matt candidly answers that question and discusses his journey with Mindy Diamond, including:

  • The complexity of their multigenerational team—and what they needed to consider in the due diligence process, including Merrill’s retire-in-place program;
  • The concept of the clients being their real “boss”—and why that was not an ethos they could live up to at Merrill;
  • The pull toward achieving greater autonomy and control—and why that was more powerful than some of the “pushes” that frustrated Matt and his team; and
  • The choice to build their own firm—and why that path won out over other options they explored.

As an employee of a large firm, many advisors come to a point where they need to decide where their loyalties lie. For Matt, it was clear to him: The clients were his boss. And as such, he and his team were responsible for answering their needs first and foremost—a direction he felt they could take only in independence.

Matt’s story has much to offer for those who are senior advisors as well as the next gen and everyone in between—so be sure to listen in.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change.

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