HighTower, the fast-growing and well-funded Chicago-based advisory firm, has raised its profile again, hiring top recruiting executives from Charles Schwab and LPL Financial as it plans to open six new offices by April 2011.
Michael Parker, who previously oversaw new business development at LPL Financial in the northeast, will head East Coast recruiting out of New York City for High Tower, while Kevin Geary, who was responsible for business development in northern California at Charles Schwab, will head West Coast recruiting for the firm out of San Francisco.
Mike Papedis, HighTower’s managing director in charge of recruiting, said he hired Parker and Geary to help the firm deal with a “massive pipeline” of over 300 advisory and brokerage teams.
HighTower plans to open new offices in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon, according to Papedis, who joined HighTower in May from Fidelity, and heads Midwest recruiting out of Chicago.
HighTower is targeting wirehouse teams with at least $300 million in assets, offering them equity participation in the firm, based on the size of their business relative to the size of HighTower. Papedis would not discuss HighTower’s upfront package in detail, but did say the firm’s approach was “very similar” to the wirehouses and included “a big slug of cash” in addition to equity.
“HighTower has definitely found the sweet spot for breakaway brokers who don’t want to build a de nova start-up,” said industry consultant Tim Welsh, president of Larkspur, Ca.-based Nexus Strategy. “They have infrastructure, a boutique environment and scale and can offer equity. People are going for it, and I think hiring the two new recruiters tells you the pipeline is full.”
The firm was founded by CEO Elliot Weissbluth and President Drew Kornreich in April 2008, and has approximately $18 billion in assets under management with 10 offices in seven states and 36 advisors. Prominent investors include Co-Chairman David Pottruck, former chief executive of Charles Schwab, Phillip Purcell, former CEO of Morgan Stanley and Morris Offit, a prominent New York asset manager.
Last December HighTower received $100 million in financing from Credit Suisse subsidiary Asset Management Finance.