Merrill Lynch veteran exits to launch independent advisory firm

A veteran Merrill Lynch international advisor and five other colleagues have left the US wealth management giant to set up a new independent advisory firm.

Xerxes Mullan, who was a managing director within Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking Investment Group (PBIG), launched his own firm Avestar Capital last Friday after 13 years at the US group.

He has been joined by a team of three advisors - Tonya Smoake, Sanjeet Dass and Jennifer Wolf - and two client associates - Alexa Cark and Sonia Krauss - who were all previously at Merrill.

Merrill confirmed their departure but would not comment on who has replaced them in their roles.

In his new venture Mullan is working alongside support services provider Dynasty Financial Partners, using their wealth management platform and technology solutions to help grow their business.

While at Merrill, Mullan catered to international clients and a portion of his clientele are from his native India.

Avestar Capital has been set up as a global multi-family office and wealth advisory business which will cater to high-end entrepreneurs and UHNW families. Mullan and his team have experience in cross-border wealth/tax planning, global financial advisory needs, and structuring multi-geographical trusts and other investment vehicles for their international clientele at Merrill’s PBIG.

Commenting on his new firm, Mullan said: ‘At Avestar Capital, we look forward to partnering with Dynasty to bring comprehensive wealth management services to our clients.

‘Our network of families and institutions often requires cross-border and multi-currency services and support for middle market entrepreneurs. In particular, the US-India cross border planning is a very active market for us.

‘As an independent firm, we are now in a position to simplify their financial lives by offering one of the most advanced platform of services, research and products available.’

Earlier this month, the head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s PBIG and Global Client Segment, Phil Sieg, announced his retirement.