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HighTower’s Michael Parker Departs To Lead Recruitment at RBC Wealth Management

The announcement was sent to RBC employees Monday morning.

Michael Parker, an executive vice president and chief development officer at HighTower Advisors, has left the RIA to become head of advisor recruiting at RBC Wealth Management U.S.

A memo was sent to brokerage employees Monday morning announcing his hiring.

The industry veteran, who was head of business development, advisor growth, marketing and public relations at HighTower, said his due diligence while considering his new position was “comprehensive and careful.”

In a recent call, he said there was no validity in rumors this past spring that he was leaving HighTower Advisors. Since the spring, he connected with RBC Wealth Management and decided to join the broker/dealer that struck him as culturally “unique” and presented a good career opportunity.

“I get to do what I do best and love to do most ... which is drive growth and attract the best and brightest in the industry,” Parker said. “And on a bigger stage. And that’s not insignificant to me.”

During his seven-year stint at HighTower, Parker grew the RIA’s network to 189 advisors across 69 offices in 28 states. At RBC Wealth Management, he’ll be heading the effort to grow a network of approximately 1,800 advisors across the country.

Unlike other large b/ds that have slowed their recruitment of experienced advisors, or halted it almost entirely, RBC Wealth Management has its foot on the throttle. Tom Sagissor, president of RBC Wealth Management U.S., said in May that hiring of new and experienced advisors will reach a record level in 2017.

Parker was brought in to continue that momentum and said the support for the wealth management business from the Montreal-based bank was clear while he got to know Sagissor and Michael Armstrong, the CEO of RBC Wealth Management U.S.

He will be leading an existing group focused on recruiting and has some ideas about how to improve it, but said it is too early to know what changes might specifically take place. One thing is for certain: the group will continue to recruit advisors to the brokerage, which is also expanding geographically in the U.S. and just opened its first office in Miami.

On why other wealth management firms aren’t dedicating resources to recruitment like they once were, Parker only said “I’m not sure where they’re heading with that.”

Like advisors that have recently joined RBC Wealth Management, Parker also pointed out the bank’s financial strength and resources synonymous with the largest in the world while maintaining the culture of a small one.

“This is a place that people really care about you and I’m not sure everyone really has that,” he said. “I’m comfortable going out into the marketplace and saying [RBC] is special.”

In addition to investing in the recruitment of experienced advisors, RBC Wealth Management U.S. hired its first technology executive specific to the business unit in the spring. It also added its first ever head of wealth planning this year and opened the first co-branded office with City National Bank, which RBC acquired in early 2015.

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