RIA Rising

A Merrill Tuck-in at HighTower's Pagnato-Karp Group

Another veteran Merrill Lynch advisor has jumped ship for national RIA HighTower. Last Friday Charles S. Holt officially joined HighTower’s Pagnato-Karp Group in Reston, Va. as a HighTower partner and managing director.

Paul Pagnato and David Karp themselves were former Merrill advisors who moved to HighTower last summer. Holt, who managed $200 million and had revenue of $1.5 million, had worked with the Pagnato team while they were all at Merrill, Pagnato told me today. He contacted them shortly after their move and expressed interest in working with them and HighTower, Pagnato said.

Holt hadn’t been looking at other advisory options when he decided he wanted to move, Pagnato said. “Based on our relationship and this trust, he knew we had vetted it out very, very well,” he said

It’s the third Merrill advisor move to HighTower this year. Earlier this month Jordan Waxman, Kenneth Hoffman and Richard Steinberg—who managed $1.4 billion for Merrill—set up HighTower offices in New York City. Last month Leo J. Kelly III and Brian Grumbach opened a HighTower office in Baltimore. They had managed $700 million in assets.

Holt, a senior vice president at Merrill, had been at the wirehouse for 23 years. His specialties include advanced wealth planning strategies, including those surrounding the sale of client-owned businesses, Pagnato said. Holt would coordinate the details of the wealth management with his clients’ CPAs and estate attorneys.

Excluding Holt’s assets, Pagnato-Karp Group has more than $1 billion in assets, Pagnato said.

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