Partner & Head of Business Owner Advisory Services, Cerity Partners
Brett Dearing is a Partner and Exit Planning Specialist in the New York office with almost thirty years experience working with privately-held businesses and business owners. Brett assists business owners in working through the complexities of transitioning a family business, structuring comprehensive succession plans and growth planning. His specialization is preparing a business and business owner for transaction while maximizing enterprise value. He also assists his clients with mergers & acquisitions, recapitalizations, private equity purchases, strategic acquisitions, spin-out acquisitions, tuck-in strategies, ESOP’s and company valuation & analysis.
Before joining Cerity Partners, Brett worked as an outsourced Chief Operating Officer. He also served as Senior Director at BNY Mellon, a Senior Vice President at Goldman Sachs and Managing Director at AllianceBernstein. He was responsible for actively consulting with over 1,000 financial advisors across the United States on investment strategy and client engagement for privately-held businesses. Brett has worked closely with family offices, various hedge funds, REITs, and private equity firms to set up investment and operational infrastructures.
Brett received his degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the founder and President of the Business Owners Exchange (BXO), a boarded member of the Exit Planning Exchange New York Chapter (XPX). Committee Chair of The Alliance of Mergers & Acquisitions Advisors™ (AM&AA), and committee member of the Member- Exit Planning Institute (EPI) and the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP).
He is a frequent speaker at events focused on educating and preparing business owners for the sale of their business.
Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss divides her practice between representation of business owners and their businesses, counselling individuals and families, and advising non-profit entities.
Business Owners and Business Representation
Ms. Wheatley-Liss counsels business owners on legal and structural issues related to start-up, financing, growth and exit strategy. As a tax attorney, she always keeps an eye on minimizing a business owner's "silent partner" – the IRS. She also advises on director and officer (D&O) liability issues, including business succession and break-ups. By creating the most efficient organizational structures and contractual arrangements during the infancy and growth of a business she has helped clients keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in their pockets upon the sale of the mature business.
To educate both the public and the legal community about issues relating to business ownerships, Ms. Wheatley-Liss is a frequent lecturer to professionals and the public on topics related to start-up, intellectual property, employee and independent contractor issues, wealth transfer, tax minimization, business succession planning and cybersecurity.
Alan D. Sobel, the Managing Member of SobelCo, is responsible for facilitating the strategic direction and the day-to-day management of the firm. Alan has considerable experience with mergers and acquisitions and delivers added value working with clients on sourcing deals, negotiating and structuring transactions, financial and business due diligence and transaction financing.
In addition, Alan advises business owners of privately held entities in the manufacturing, retail, construction, distribution, real estate development and financial services industries, applying his expertise in the areas of financial reporting, tax planning for businesses and high net worth individuals, and strategic business planning.
Brad E. Muniz, Member of the Firm and Director of Accounting and Auditing at SobelCo, serves small businesses and individuals in the areas of accounting, auditing, tax, and business consulting. Brad has over 25 years of experience in the areas of financial reporting, tax compliance, and planning for closely-held businesses, SEC registrants, nonprofit organizations, and strategic business planning. Brad utilizes his expertise to ensure that the quality of all SobelCo engagements exceeds the client expectations while complying with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) requirements, in addition to other industry guidelines.