Unlocking Real Value Blog

AK In The News: HighTower Loses Advisor Who Had $1B Practice

I was asked to comment by Fundfire on the departure of Margaret Towle from HighTower Advisors, less than two years after she joined the very successful RIA. This follows the departure of another advisor who left last month, the latest two departures from the firm which has been growing rapidly. The firm lost one other advisor last year, who left to run a hedge fund.

The question on everyone’s mind is, do these departures signal problems at HighTower? Probably not. To quote from the article:

“Towle’s exit, along with the other recent partners, isn’t necessarily a “red flag” for HighTower, nor a sign that it has gone from rakish industry upstart to “mature” firm, says Andrew Klausner, principal of AK Advisory Partners. “Maybe better than the word ‘mature’ is ‘growing pains,’” he says. “There are not too many firms that have had their success, and they’ve certainly had more success than failures.”

Klausner says it’s believable that personality and culture could be snags for an outfit like HighTower, where the partners take roles in the firm’s management. “You don’t know 100% that the fit is going to be there,” he says. “When you have a model like that, where you’re attracting the best, inevitably you will have some conflicts.””

We will all be keeping our eyes open to see what happens at HighTower – but I am guessing that they will continue to attract more new advisors than they lose and that they will continue to be a highly successful firm.

(The other advisor who left had joined the firm from Goldman Sachs and reportedly left HighTower to join Credit Suisse. My guess here is that it was an issue of fit – going from a boutique investment firm to an RIA and back to a boutique may signify that this advisor was just more comfortable in that type of firm.)

Leave a Reply