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Merrill Lynch Director Leaves To Start Advisory Firm With Dynasty

The wirehouse team wanted to get ahead of a technology curve the industry is facing.

A managing director at Merrill Lynch and his team have left to start their own firm with Dynasty Financial Partners.

Xerxes Mullan, who was a managing director at Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group for more than 14 years, officially launched Avestar Capital as the CEO and founding partner on March 17.

The new global multi-family office and advisory business will focus on entrepreneurs, C-level executives and ultra high net worth families. The group has not publicly disclosed the amount of client assets it managed at Merrill Lynch, but a spokesperson for Dynasty Financial Partners said the company typically works with independent advisory firms that oversee at least $300 million in client assets.

Joining Mullen at the new venture are five team members from Merrill Lynch: Alexa Clark, Sanjeet Dass, Sonia Krauss, Tonya Smoake and Jennifer Wolf. All of them worked together at the b/d and are now partners with ownership in Avestar Capital, he added.

It was a move Mullan had been thinking about for a long time and was driven in part by where he thinks the wealth management industry is headed in terms of technology.

“Technology is a great enabler in this world,” he said, “and the fintech world is changing at an alarming pace.”

In an effort to better serve clients by getting ahead of the technology curve, Mullan and his coworkers decided creating an independent advisory business was best.

Avestar Capital also wanted its advisors “running the whole balance sheet, ” thinking about each client holistically and coordinating their goals and needs across products and services.

Mullan’s team also has experience guiding entrepreneurs engaged in all stages of a business life cycle — including an initial capital raise all the way through a monetization plan. A number of the firm’s clients are “serial entrepreneurs,” a statement from Dynasty Financial Partners said.

“The team is excited,” Mullan said. “We’ve [received] really good feedback from clients that we’ve been talking to and we’re excited to take our business to the next stage.”

Shirl Penney, the CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners, said in a statement the firm is happy to add Avestar Capital to their network and that it will provide its clients with services beyond traditional wealth planning by “creating access to business and investment opportunities and handling complex global planning issues.”


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