A conversation with Scott Shagrin, Ira Ravitz, and Lisa Westermark, Co-Founders of Beverly Hills Private Wealth
The founders of Beverly Hills Private Wealth discuss their motivations to leave Merrill after building a billion-dollar business, their transition to independence and experience as one of the first RIAs to choose Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions as their custodian.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed by the guests on this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Diamond Consultants. Neither Diamond Consultants nor the guests on this podcast are compensated in any way for their participation.
About this episode…
In an ever-evolving landscape, there seems to be a constantly growing number of trailblazers we meet along the way. In this episode, those trailblazers are breaking new ground by selecting the nascent Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions as the custodian for their new RIA firm.
This story starts with a team in Beverly Hills that built an incredible business at Merrill, managing a billion dollars in assets.
After a decade of staying educated on changes in the industry, they decided that it was time to disrupt momentum and take the biggest leap of all: to launch their own RIA firm.
And if making the leap to independence wasn’t big enough, they jumped farther by launching their firm into uncharted waters. That is, as the first of their size to choose the Goldman custody platform.
It’s a story that exemplifies the power of vision and the realization that the one-size-fits-all methodology of a big firm like Merrill has its limits—particularly for those who work with high net worth clients.
Scott Shagrin, Ira Ravitz, and Lisa Westermark had their sights set on creating a differentiated, high-end client experience.
So in the 4th quarter of 2022, the team launched RIA Beverly Hills Private Wealth, and just one year later, Scott, Ira, and Lisa join Mindy Diamond to discuss their journey, including:
- Their motivations to leave Merrill after building a billion-dollar business there—and why independence won out over the prospect of signing on to Merrill’s retire-in-place program or taking a transition deal from another large firm.
- Their due diligence process—and what was unique about their experience.
- Their choice to go with Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions—and what it was like to be “trailblazers” on the nascent platform.
- Their attraction to the platform—and why they felt it was the right option for their business and clients vs. other seasoned options.
- The transition process—and what key lessons they learned.
- And ultimately, what they can do as independent firm Beverly Hills Private Wealth that they could not as employees at Merrill.
The episode shares a complete picture of the thought process a team goes through when considering change—including weighing the options of their firm’s retire-in-place program, a transition deal from another large firm, and independence. Plus, it offers candid perspectives on life before and after the transition.
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Scott Shagrin, CFP®
Managing Director, Co-Founder
Scott Shagrin is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Beverly Hills Private Wealth. A long-time proponent of smart and thoughtful planning, Scott often reminds clients that a “failure to plan is a plan for failure.” For this reason, he spends considerable time discussing a range of scenarios and investment approaches with each client – preparing for a range of circumstances and outcomes.
Scott is privileged to work closely with his clients in matters of asset allocation, retirement and estate planning services, existing portfolio evaluation and risk management. He is particularly proud to serve multiple generations of clients – in some cases, three generations.
Prior to co-founding Beverly Hills Private Wealth, Scott was a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management from 2006-2022, after already spending more than 20 years at Shearson and Smith Barney.
Having graduated from the University of Arizona in 1983 with a B.S. Degree in both Finance and Real Estate, Scott later earned his CFP® certification – an experience that has had a strong impact on how he advises clients in areas of wealth management. A lifetime learner, Scott later attended the Harvard University Executive Education Program, designed to expand one’s cognitive capacity, and The Wharton School of Executive Education.
An active member of El Caballero Country Club and previous co-chair of The Federation Golf Tourney, Scott is currently a big brother for Big Brothers of Los Angeles. Scott is a very proud father of two children. Carly, a Northwestern graduate, now works for Google and Michael, a UVA Law graduate who works for a major firm in New York City. Scott and his wife Lauren Abrams married last year after a long courtship and blended their families, and he is thrilled to be a step-father to her wonderful children, Brett and Molly. They reside in Los Angeles.
Ira H. Ravitz, CIMA®
Managing Director, Co-Founder
Ira Ravitz is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Beverly Hills Private Wealth. As a seasoned financial professional, Ira relishes the opportunity to work closely with clients and, when appropriate, bring in other financial specialists and clients’ legal professionals that add perspective to each situation.
With a rich understanding of multiple market cycles, their implications and how to prepare, Ira collaborates with clients to structure programs that can help them continue to accumulate wealth, reduce risk and achieve philanthropic goals. Among Ira’s clients are successful individuals who wish to preserve assets as they plan for retirement and dedicated entrepreneurs whose vision and drive are embraced by Ira and shared with him.
Ira joined Scott at Smith Barney in 1998 until their move to Merrill Lynch in 2006, where he served as a Senior Vice President in Wealth Management.
Ira earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Later, he became a registered investment adviser and earned the designation of Certified Investment Management Analyst® administered by the Investments & Wealth Institute™ (The Institute) and taught in conjunction with the Wharton School of Business.
Ira can be found many afternoons playing tennis at Riviera Country Club, where he is also past chairman of the Advisory Board. Ira, Becky, and their newborn son Eli reside in Los Angeles, CA.
Lisa Westermark, ChFC®
Senior Vice President, Co-Founder
Lisa joined Scott and Ira at Merrill Lynch in 2013 after moving to Los Angeles from New York City, where she previously worked for Quilvest Private Equity. After spending five years as a client associate with the team, she transitioned into an advisory role in 2018 with an emphasis in relationship management.
Lisa enjoys working with our next generation, and regularly interacts with the children and grandchildren of our clients to help them define their financial goals, implement investment plans, and understand the basics of personal finance. She has also found a true passion for educating women on the nuances of their unique financial journeys and regularly hosts educational seminars geared specifically towards women at all stages of life.
Lisa received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the prestigious Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is an avid lover of art, theatre, classical music, and world history. Lisa resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Kainoa, and their inspiring blind rescue dog, Poppy.