FUNDfire – Huge Merrill Team Breaks Away to Launch Multi-Family Office

By Danielle Verbrigghe September 9, 2015

A top team of private wealth advisors from Merrill Lynch have launched an independent registered investment advisor (RIA) firm and multi-family office with help from Dynasty Financial Partners.

Group Shot outdoors smallThe $1.4 billion group broke away from Merrill to form Omnia Family Wealth in Aventura, Fla.The new multi-family-office shop is led by partners Steven WagnerMichael Wagner and Ivan Hernandez. They are joined by director of client services Diana Torre and director of operations Cherie Cohen.

The team had previously been with the Private Banking and Investment Group (PBIG) division at Merrill Lynch since 2009. Before that they were registered at UBS, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records.

Omnia Family Wealth focuses exclusively on ultra-high-net-worth clients.

A desire to be in a “conflict-free environment,” prompted the move, says Steven Wagner.

“Any move that we would have made to a different wirehouse we would have viewed as a lateral move,” Wagner says. “We could have gotten a huge check […]. Firms’ recruiting practices are extremely aggressive, but this is about building a business for generations to come.”

Wagner’s team decided to partner with Dynasty after considering the various other options available, Wagner says.

“We interviewed everybody in the industry. We did a lot of research,” Wagner says. “We didn’t want to give away any equity. We wanted complete control of the organization.”

Omnia Family Wealth will work with Fidelity and Pershing for custody. The firm plans to add staff and resources as necessary to continue to scale up the business, Wagner says.

“The amount of wealth in Florida and the families in Florida are significant,” Wagner says. “We’re going to be a major player in this market.”

This marks the seventh team this year to join the Dynasty network. At the end of last month Dynasty transitioned a $250 million team from Wells Fargo Advisors. Earlier this summer members of a Deutsche Bank advisor team that had overseen about $3 billion partnered with Dynasty to launch an independent RIA, In February, an $800 million Morgan Stanleyteam jumped to independence with help from Dynasty.