There’s one thing about every breakaway consultant we’ve spoken to about leaving the wirehouse: It’s hard to rationalize walking away from a well-established, respected, and recognized brand name.
Because for some, the name was one of the key characteristics that attracted them to the firm in the first place.
Take Matt Liebman for example. When he joined Merrill in 2008, a draw for him was brand recognition. As he shares in this episode, “If someone asked where you worked, all you need to do is say ‘Merrill Lynch’ and they automatically know what you did for a living. “
Matt immediately noted that the firm’s reputation was well earned through a strong training program and an entrepreneurial environment where clients were well served and consultants could build strong businesses.
And build a strong business that it did — up to some $1.2B in assets under management.
He was part of a powerhouse multi-generational team consisting of individuals from their 20s to their 90s! It was a deliberate coming together of forces – with Matt joining his father Sam Liebman and his team after he moved to Merrill from UBS, and Forbes “Top Next-Gen Advisor” Aaron Marx to form the Liebman Marx Group. Rounded the ranks.
Yet in March 2021, he opted to leave Merrill and form his own RIA firm, Employed Wealth Advisors, with Dynasty Financial Partners.
With such a successful team, one might wonder, “Why would they rock the boat?”
In this episode, Matt explicitly answers that question and discusses his journey with Mindy Diamond, including:
- The complexity of their multi-generational team—and what they need to consider in the due diligence process, including Merrill’s retire-in-place program.
- The concept of customers being their real “boss”—and why that wasn’t an ethos they could live by at Merrill’s.
- The stretch toward achieving greater autonomy and control — and why it was more powerful than some of the “pushes” that frustrated Matt and his team.
- The choice to form his own firm—and why that path won out over the other options he explored.
As employees of a large firm, many consultants come to a point where they need to decide where their loyalty lies. To Matt, it was clear to him: The customer was his boss. And as such, he and his team were first and foremost responsible for responding to their needs – a direction they felt they could only take at liberty.
Matt’s story has a lot to offer to those who are senior advisors as well as the next generation and everyone in between—so be sure to listen.
Download the transcript of this episode…
Hear more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Freedom, A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change,