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Elliot Weissbluth pooh-poohs the idea that HighTower faces channel conflict as 'stupid and uninformed'

The roll-up has added franchise- and outsource-type channels in the wake of a capital raise that failed to materialize

Author Lisa Shidler March 14, 2014 at 5:59 AM
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Elliot Weissbluth: These are not simple lift-outs.


Jeff Spears

Jeff Spears

March 14, 2014 — 5:45 PM

HighTower has definitely established a solid brand. However, brand extensions can be difficult.


Stephen Winks

Stephen Winks

March 14, 2014 — 9:36 PM

Remember when Raymond James the Florida regional brokerage was disparaged when it leveraged it overhead to provide unprecedented support to independent brokers at its IM&R affiliate, now Raymond James Advisors? conventional brokerage firms wondered how could independent brokers compete with full service brokers? Of course independents free to compete, competed very favorably and eventually based on personal initiative evolved towards advisory services that eclipsed brokerage services.

Hightower is an important extension of that evolution, in that it is actually in the advice business, not just a back office utility disconnected from a practice’s value proposition, profitability or valuation.. The missing link is unifying prudent process that simplifies advisory services. The Network and Alliance are advisor collaboratives which empower advisors through process to gain control over their value proposition, cost structure, margins and professional standing in ways not possible in a brokerage format. In important ways that United Capital, Focus and Dynasty may not appreciate, in ways independent broker/dealers and wirehouses are not prepared to venture..

If the advisor asks, “Is there a firm that can help one achieving professional standing and maximizing the advisor’s margins and transferable practice value?”. There has been no such firm existent, which requires innovation.. HIghtower may be that firm.

So, be careful in dismissing Hightower in the context of what exists today, as it has introduced two new very intriguing ways for advisors to achieve scale not possible in a brokerage format, to streamline cost, and to facilitate an unprecedented level of investment and administrative counsel presently not supported by a brokerage, roll up, independent or custody format.


Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

March 17, 2014 — 6:19 PM


I think what you’re saying is that this isn’t a garden variety brand extension in that the brand doesn’t need to be extended very far. The brand continues to serve a very similar group of financial advisors with very similar needs and they receive similar services. This is more of a channel add. Channel adds stir things up precisely because they aren’t brand extensions. With multiple channels under one brand, there is tension, real or perceived, that the advisors in each channel are cannibalizing each other’s assets and competing for the same resources.




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Ron Edde

Ron Edde

December 23, 2014 — 7:33 PM

The “perfect firm” for all advisors has yet to be invented and does not exist, or else every advisor would already be working there. Hightower, however, has followed Wells Fargo and Raymond James in creating a multi-channel platform that has proven to be very attractive to advisors. The “partner” model remains HighTower’s flagship attraction, but the Alliance and Network are growing and offer unique appeal of their own.

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