The Bapis Group
The Bapis Group

Rockefeller-Backed Firm Lands First Team from HighTower

The Bapis Group, a $1.2 billion advisory team, leaves HighTower to join former Morgan Stanley wealth exec Greg Fleming’s Rockefeller Capital Management.

Rockefeller Capital Management, led by former Morgan Stanley wealth executive Greg Fleming, has landed its first team since the firm was formed earlier this year through the acquisition of family office Rockefeller & Co. The firm has been building an operations and technology platform to attract advisors from major firms and The Bapis Group, a New York- and Salt Lake City-based team with $1.2 billion in assets, is the first recruit.

The Bapis Group is leaving HighTower Advisors after 10 years with the registered investment advisory firm. 

The Bapis Group, a nine-person team led by Nick and Michael Bapis, had changed its name to Vios Advisors; “vios” is the ancient Greek word for life. The change has been in the works for a long time, according to Michael.

“Greg Fleming has a great reputation on the street,” he said, in an interview with WealthManagement.com. “He’s been in the trenches. He’s done a lot of work there, and he’s been very successful at it. We’re super excited with the whole integration into the Rockefeller family office that has hundreds of years of history,” Michael added.

The team members are now employees of RCM. The spokesperson would not comment on whether the team is taking an equity stake in the firm. 

Michael declined to comment on why the team left HighTower Advisors, which has gone through a number of leadership changes, including the recent news that CEO Elliot Weissbluth was stepping down, and a large investment stake taken by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners late last year. The Bapis Group was the first wirehouse team to join HighTower in 2008.

“We thank The Bapis Group for being part of HighTower,” HighTower said, in a statement. “We respect Michael and Nick’s decision and wish them well in their next chapter.”

Fleming detailed his plans for the new RCM earlier this year, including building out the firm’s strategic advisory services for high-end clients, business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as a wealth management division serving high-net-worth clients. Michael expects to take advantage of the opportunity to attract some of those clients to their advisory business, as well as the firm’s trust and estates, banking and lending services, as well as access to boutique investment managers, he said.

Vios advisors will hang their brokerage licenses at Axiom Capital Management, although RCM is currently building out a full-service broker/dealer.

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