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Merrill Loses $1.2B AUM Firm to Dynasty

Principals of Merrill’s Liebman Marks Group have launched Amplius Wealth Advisors, joining the Dynasty Financial Partners network.

Blue Bell, Pa., has a new registered investment advisor in town. Dynasty Financial Partners announced Tuesday it helped a former Merrill Lynch team that managed $1.2 billion in client assets, and generated $6.1 million in revenue, launch Amplius Wealth Advisors. 

Amplius is led by father and son Samuel and Matthew Liebman and Aaron Marks. Samuel Liebman will serve as chairman while Matthew will be the firm’s chief executive officer, and Marks will function as chief strategy officer. All three will continue to advise clients. Patrick Swift also joins Amplius from Merrill as vice president of wealth planning.

Matthew Liebman said the firm started to entertain the idea of launching an independent practice two years ago when clients began to express a desire for a broader range of investment choices. The firm had been with Merrill for 13 years but had previously spent 15 years at UBS and several years at Prudential Securities before that. 

“We were looking at ... how we were structured, which is the advisory team, the investment and planning and lending platform, and the custodian all being at the same place. We wanted to see if there were any advantages for the clients to separate that," he said. "Having multiple options in multiple areas such as lending, structured investments, some boutique investment managers ... we could just offer more solutions and frankly better pricing over time, given that we have competition from multiple places,” Matthew Liebman said.

Merrill’s Liebman Marks Group served multigenerational families, business owners, corporate executives and professionals from the financial services space such as hedge fund managers. Some of its more sophisticated clients were interested in accessing alternative investments and structured notes, or creating a competitively priced securities-based line of credit like a loan management account (LMA).

While at Merrill, the team would usually customize asset allocations for clients and then use exchange traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or institutional managers to execute the allocations. With Dynasty, the firm can still use that same investment approach but with more options, said Matthew.

“If they’ve been looking for 2 years, there have been some things that have been bugging them about remaining at Merrill,” said Mickey Wasserman, president of Michael Wasserman and Associates. “Merrill has a great name, and the firm is still No. 1 among clients, but these advisors probably had a very strong relationship with their client base.”

He added that many firms who have been with any wirehouse for 15 years or less generally leave for more control over succession planning, a better payout rate and more choice around control of the business.

The Liebman Group served 250 families and approximately 400 individuals. Once Amplius Wealth is more settled in, Matthew said the firm would be open to expanding the firm through hiring more advisors or acquiring another firm. 

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