RIA Rising

HighTower Lands Another Merrill Team

The latest addition to HighTower, the national registered investment advisor, took more than a year of due diligence to set up but appears to be worth the wait.

Chicago-based HighTower says this morning that it has drawn yet another wirehouse advisor team to its ranks. The members of the team, HSW Advisors, are Richard Steinberg, Kenneth Hoffman, and Jordan Waxman, formerly of Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group.

HSW, which HighTower says oversaw assets of $1.4 billion for 50 clients, joined the RIA’s New York City office on Friday. It’s Hightower’s fourth new team so far this year.

Steinberg and Waxman left Goldman Sachs in 2002 to join Merrill. Hoffman joined Merrill in 1994 after working at Lehman Brothers and E.F. Hutton. At Merrill, their clients included families, foundations, endowments, unions and pension funds.

“After many years in large Wall Street banks, we simply wanted to deliver the most unconflicted and objective advice and service to our clients,” Waxman said in a statement released by HighTower. “This evolution of our practice to be independent fiduciaries is 100 percent about what is in the best interests of our clients.”

Mike Papedis, HighTower’s head of business development, said HSW evaluated their options, including full independence, for more than a year.

Other big names have left Merrill this year. Last month John Beirne Jr. and his team said they had formed their own RIA with the help of aggregator Focus Financial Partners after concluding a Merrill policy that barred soliciting new pension plan business would crimp their growth.

Read Registered Rep. for an update to this story later today.

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