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HighTower wins big UBS team and clinches 'critical mass'

The Chicago-based aggregator is breaking even and signing leases for more office space in three cities

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 – 4:25 AM by Brooke Southall
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Andrew Morse: I have yet to work for an investment bank that hasn’t gone out of business or was brought back from the brink.

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Jeff Spears

Jeff Spears

August 3, 2010 — 6:12 PM

HighTower is on fire!

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

August 3, 2010 — 8:43 PM

It would hard to argue that HighTower isn’t on fire right now. Smoke [office leases being signed] and flames [big teams signing on] are both apparent.

I have continually asked advisors, consultants and other industry observers what accelerating force is sending the flames higher. The answers are typically long and not easy to summarize. Andy Morse made a comment about how HighTower has the feel of the old Wall Street firms — before they became [my words] amorphous, CYA corporations.

What I take this to mean is that the aggregator has struck a balance between contradictory needs. Advisors want the sense of autonomy and individuality that comes from being a member of a smaller organization. They also crave the sense of security and omnipotence of being part of something with some heft and firepower.

HighTower’s growth seems to be aided by giving advisors a sense they are part of a small worthy club. But its platform, team of advisors and managers are impressing prospects that they have more than enough scale to compete with anyone.

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