Merrill Lynch Broker Team with $550 Million in Assets Resigns

Ex-Merrill adviser team launches international-focused boutique

Two Merrill Lynch brokers who managed $550 million in client assets have resigned to launch a boutique advisory focused on international clients, joining a number of small adviser groups to leave big firms to offer more specialized services.

Advisers Elizabeth van Walleghem and Thomas J. Butler III on Tuesday officially launched Maximai Investment Partners in Coral Gables, Fla. The firm is focused on ultra-high-net worth entrepreneurs and families from Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Ms. van Walleghem had been at Merrill, now a unit of Bank of America Corp., since 1992. Mr. Butler worked at Merrill for 28 years.

A Merrill spokeswoman confirmed the departures.

About two years ago, the advisers started to search for another platform to serve clients. Many of their clients had been asking when they were going to start their own firm, Ms. van Walleghem says, largely because they desired more investment options.

The advisers determined that by going independent, they would have more flexibility to meet clients’ needs. “The world is our oyster now as opposed to being limited by the boundary of four walls,” Ms. van Walleghem said.

Last summer, Merrill trimmed its international effort to focus on 29 target countries, primarily Canada and in Latin America, and it curtailed brokers’ ability to travel outside the U.S. The company also announced that brokers who serve international clients would work as part of a specialized team and it raised the minimum account size that those overseas clients need to work with a Merrill broker.

Ms. van Walleghem says those policies played a role in the advisers’ decision to move. At Merrill, the advisers said they had a $2.5 million or $5 million account minimum for new clients depending on the country. Their new firm has a $1 million minimum, Ms. van Walleghem says.

Ms. van Walleghem will work primarily with clients from Venezuela, Peru, Chile, the Caribbean and Europe. Mr. Butler will focus on the firm’s clients from Mexico, Central America and Brazil.

Also joining the advisers are three Merrill Lynch employees. They are launching the firm with the support of Dynasty Financial Partners, a New York-based firm that provides independent adviser teams access to a platform for trading, clearing, research and other support services.

Ms. van Walleghem says the advisers chose to work with Dynasty after hearing success stories from other international advisers who had left brokerage firms and gone independent. “Knowing other similar advisers who made the move made me feel confident we could do it, too,” she says.

Write to Veronica Dagher at veronica.dagher@wsj.com

Five Merrill Lynch LatAm advisors exit to launch own firm

By Atholl Simpson

City Wire Americas — View original article

13 Sep, 2016 at 12:48

Five Merrill Lynch global advisors have left the US giant to launch their own Florida-based investment advisory firm in partnership with wealth management support service provider Dynasty Financial Partners.

The new venture, named MAXIMAI Investment Partners, is led by industry veterans Elizabeth (Lisa) van Walleghem, who has been with Merrill since 1993, and Thomas J. (Jim) Butler III, an investor with almost 30 years of experience. During their time at Merrill’s Miami base the duo managed $550 million in client assets.

Joining them at MAXIMAI’s Coral Gables offices are Alejandro Behrens, Daniella Viete, and Ana Bueso — all from the Merrill Lynch Miami LatAm complex.

The independent investment advisory firm will work with ultra-high-net worth entrepreneurs and families from around the world, with a particular focus and experience dealing with Latin American clients.

Its partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners gives MAXIMAI access to the group’s investment platform and integrated marketing solutions and to Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, to custody MAXIMAI’s advisory assets.

The group also provides concierge services to entrepreneurs and families with international financial interests.

Commenting on the new venture, van Valleghem said: ‘One of the main reasons we have decided to launch MAXIMAI is our desire to build stronger relationships with our clients, their families and communities by offering objective and transparent advice unconstrained by the structure of a one-firm model.’

Butler added: ‘Given the pace of change within global markets, we must maintain the agility to identify new developments, tap attractive opportunities around the world and deliver advanced solutions while safeguarding client assets. Independence equips us to do all this and more.’

Expanding business

This is the second group to enter a partnership with Dynasty this year following the agreement it struck with Premia Global Advisors in April this year. The latter was also launched by an ex-Merrill advisor, Miguel Sosa.

At the same time as the Premia agreement, Dynasty also announced a tie-up with Global Investor Services (GIS) which would provide broker-dealer services for its partners firms.

These latest departures from Merrill Lynch’s wealth management team are among a number of advisor exits since the group announced a major restructuring of its international business last year.

Merrill Lynch financial advisors leave to start new investment firm

Sep 13, 2016, 12:39pm EDT

Nina Lincoff, Reporter

South Florida Business Journal — View Original Article

Continuing the trend of financial advisors leaving big firms to make it on their own, former Merrill Lynch team member Elizabeth van Walleghem and Thomas J. Butler, III have launched the new MAXIMAI Investments Partners.

MAXIMAI is based in Coral Gables, and is a partnership with New York-based Dynasty Financial Partners, which announced the new firm Tuesday. The new South Florida entity will utilize certain Dynasty investment platforms and marketing materials.

Three other former Merrill Lynch alums from the firm’s Miami Latin America team are joining Butler and van Walleghem: Alejandro Behrens, Daniella Viete and Ana Bueso.

MAXIMAI intends to provide concierge financial services to entrepreneurs and families with international financial interests. The firm caters to the ultra-affluent, particularly global clients with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the MAXIMAI website.

“One of the main reasons that we have decided to launch MAXIMAI is our desire to build stronger relationships with our clients, their families and communities by offering objective and transparent advice unconstrained by the structure of a one-firm model,” van Walleghem, CEO and co-founder of MAXIMAI, said in a statement.

MAXIMAI is an independent, boutique investment advisory firm based in Coral Gables. The firm’s financial advisors are also registered financial representatives of Miami-based Global Investment Services.

Butler, co-founder of MAXIMAI, was formerly a senior VP at Merrill Lynch International, and worked at the firm for 28 years both in New York and Miami. Van Walleghem joined Merrill Lynch in 1992.

Viete has assumed the role of COO and associate partner at the new firm, Behrens is managing director and associate partner, and Bueso is the manager of client services. Joining the five Merrill Lynch alums are Vivian Velazquez, chief compliance officer, Dynasty member Scott Welch, chief investment officer, and Dynasty member Javier Rivero, senior VP.

MAXIMAI’s offices are located at 2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 300.

Lisa van Walleghem and Jim Butler III Launch MAXIMAI Investment Partners in Partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners

12:10 | 13/09/2016

Funds Society, Miami — View original article

Two leading global financial advisors — Elizabeth (Lisa) van Walleghem and Thomas J. (Jim) Butler III — with previous responsibility for managing $550 million in client assets, announced yesterday that they have left Merrill Lynch and are partnering with Dynasty Financial Partners to launch a new firm, MAXIMAI Investment Partners.

Based in Coral Gables, Florida, MAXIMAI Investment Partners is an independent boutique investment advisory firm focused on working with ultra-high-net worth entrepreneurs and families from around the world. In addition to Mr. Butler and Ms. van Walleghem, Alejandro Behrens, Daniella Viete, and Ana Bueso are joining the firm — all from the Merrill Lynch Miami Latam Complex.

The team of the new firm is multigenerational, multilingual and global — as are their clients. It provides concierge services to those entrepreneurs and families with international financial interests, and also provides a keen understanding of the entrepreneurial perspective and the Latin American experience.

“One of the main reasons that we have decided to launch MAXIMAI is our desire to build stronger relationships with our clients, their families and communities by offering objective and transparent advice unconstrained by the structure of a one-firm model,” said Ms. van Walleghem.

According to Mr. Butler, “Given the pace of change within global markets, we must maintain the agility to identify new developments, tap attractive opportunities around the world and deliver advanced solutions while safeguarding client assets.  Independence equips us to do all this and more.”

“Lisa, Jim and their team have a strong track record working with institutions and families in Latin America, Europe and around the world on a broad array of complex financial issues. Now, as an independent financial advisory firm, they are well positioned for success in the future as they build out their business.  At Dynasty, we are delighted to be partnering with MAXIMAI in expanding our Latin American and international business,” said Shirl Penney, President and CEO of Dynasty.

“One feature that distinguishes the independent wealth management segment is the ability to choose platforms and providers that uniquely meet the client’s needs, which is especially relevant for global clients,” said Javier Rivero, Senior Vice President, International Division at Dynasty.  “MAXIMAI recognizes that the independent model is the future for advisors working with global clients that require a truly open platform and we congratulate them on their decision.”

Advisers managing $550 million leave Merrill Lynch to create RIA in Florida

MAXIMAI will focus on ultra-high-net-worth clients internationally

Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:53 am

By Christine Idzelis

Investment News — View original article

Advisers managing $550 million of assets have left Bank of America Merrill Lynch to create independent advisory firm MAXIMAI Investment Partners in Florida.

Lisa van Walleghem and Thomas “Jim” Butler broke away from the wirehouse to create a registered investment advisory firm focused on ultra-high-net worth entrepreneurs and families internationally, according to a statement on Tuesday from Dynasty Financial Partners, which offers RIA services.

The Coral Gables, Fla.-based wealth-management firm provides investment-management, estate and trust services, as well as access to investment bankers, attorneys and tax professionals to guide clients through the “the intricacies” of working globally, according to the statement. MAXIMAI will use a portion of Dynasty’s investment platform and Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services to custody its advisory assets.

“Lisa, Jim and their team have a strong track record working with institutions and families in Latin America, Europe and around the world on a broad array of complex financial issues,” Shirl Penney, president and chief executive officer of Dynasty, said in the statement.

The co-founders of MAXIMAI are joined by Alejandro Behrens, Daniella Viete and Ana Bueso, who all worked at Merrill Lynch’s Latin America complex in Miami, according to the statement.

Susan Atran, a spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the advisers’ departure.

Merrill brokers with $550 AUM switch to Dynasty

By Ann Marsh

Financial Planning — View original article

Published  September 13 2016, 5:35pm EDT

Dynasty Financial Partners nabbed four breakaway advisers from Merrill Lynch, who have formed a “multilingual, multigenerational” firm focused on high-net-worth entrepreneurs globally, according to a release.

The advisers sought to build a practice “unconstrained by the structure of a one-firm model,” Elizabeth van Walleghem, who cofounded the firm with Thomas Butler, said in a statement. 

Their new firm, Coral Gables, Florida-based Maximai Investment Partners, specializes in serving clients with ties to Latin America. Advisers Alejandro Behrens and Daniella Viete, along with Ana Bueso, the new firm’s manager of client services, also left Merrill to join the practice.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Given the pace of change within global markets, we must maintain the agility to identify new developments, tap attractive opportunities around the world and deliver advanced solutions while safeguarding client assets. Independence equips us to do all this and more,” Butler said in the statement.

It’s important to give global clients the right choices for their investments, Javier Rivero, senior vice president of Dynasty’s international division, said in the statement.

“The independent model is the future for advisers working with global clients that require a truly open platform,” he said.

The new firm will utilize portions of Dynasty’s investment platform and integrated marketing solutions as well as Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services to custody their advisory assets. It will also use Addepar, a wealth management platform for family offices and RIAs, for their client performance reporting and Dynasty’s customized version of Salesforce as their CRM, according to the statement.

The firm is the second Florida-based group for Dynasty. Premia Global Advisors, also in Coral Gables, joined the network earlier this year.