The serial buyer nabs a combined $400-million of tuck-ins-as-partners after a deliberate breath-catching and a financing no-go

January 14, 2013 — 8:41 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

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Brooke’s Note: Selfishly, we were sorry to see HighTower catch its breath for several months. Often the breakaways are of eventful size and, by their nature, provide some of the drama that makes the breakaway movement exciting. The constant and intense level of deals is also a bit of a serial adventure for the industry’s followers. It’s of interest to readers of RIABiz. HighTower CEO Elliot Weissbluth promised a resumption of deals in January. Here it is.

HighTower Advisors is back in the game — albeit with a modest splash — and is giving a heads-up of more to come.

The big Chicago-based strategic acquirer and outsourced platform has added two advisors to existing offices with combined advised assets of about $400 million — after not announcing any deals since early September. See: HighTower passes up $40 million capital raise, takes a big breather from deals and implements a pacing regimen.

Matt Moore joined HighTower’s Kelly Wealth Management of Baltimore as a managing director and partner on Jan. 11. He manages $250 million in assets. Moore works with affluent families, individual clients, closely held businesses and non-profit organizations. He departs Merrill Lynch, where he received Circle of Excellence recognition, prior to joining HighTower. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University.

Coming up Rosen

Stephen Rosen, an 18-year veteran of the financial services industry, joined HighTower Bethesda on that date, too, as a managing director and partner. He oversees $140 million in assets, and specializes in financial planning and portfolio management for high-net-worth individuals. Rosen previously worked for UBS, where he was selected for entry into the UBS Global Circle of Excellence.

“His decision to join HighTower is a testament to the benefits we provide advisors and their investor clients,” said Jeff Leventhal, managing director and partner at HighTower Bethesda. “His specialty in financial planning and portfolio management for high-net-worth individuals complements our practice as we create and preserve wealth for more clients.”

Both deals officially go down as “tuck-ins” but the advisors are also both partners of HighTower. Deals are considered tuck-ins when a breakaway broker joins an existing practice rather than starting a new one.

The deals follow HighTower’s pattern of success in building up its presence in the Mid-Atlantic. See: HighTower wins a $700 million Merrill Lynch advisor in Maryland horse country and wrests an LA-based IAR from an RIA.

Advisors with followings

“Success feeds success,” says Mike Papedis, executive vice president of business development at HighTower. “It shouldn’t be surprising that high-caliber advisors have a following, too.”

The recruitment of the two advisors to HighTower offices marks the end of a five month stretch that Papedis described as a pause — a self-imposed restraint employed in the name of shoring up abilities to bring aboard new partners in the proper fashion.

The pause also followed an attempt by the firm to add about $40 million of capital through a raise. HighTower passed on the funding after it determined that the terms associated with the round was not to its liking.

Papedis says that his company will have more news to report and that it’s good to be back in deal mode.

HighTower back in pipeline mode

“It’s great to be back — and there’s a lot more to come. Our pipeline has never been stronger.” See: What exactly the CEOs of HighTower, Focus Financial and Dynasty Financial revealed when they shared a stage in Las Vegas.

HighTower, which manages and advises $25 billion of assets, of which $10 billion is AUM, according to the firm’s ADV. Hightower has 34 teams totaling 79 advisors.

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Elmer Rich III said:

January 15, 2013 — 4:12 PM UTC

We are also doing more M&A and work with RIAs and retirement TPAs. We too are seeing a very busy year and the firms we are working with have very strong numbers. As always, the growth and profitability in our industry is impressive.

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