HighTower’s Top Former Recruiter Joins RBC Wealth
Michael Parker, who had played a key role in convincing veteran brokers to join HighTower Advisors as the firm was expanding, has joined Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. Wealth Management business as head of recruiting, RBC said on Monday.
Parker, who stepped down from his HighTower post in April to take an undefined role as “senior advisor” at the Chicago-based advisory firm, was not immediately available to comment. HighTower initially focused on urging wirehouse brokers to go independent but has since been working with a wider range of potential recruits.
In a prepared statement, Parker said RBC U.S. Wealth Management under a new leadership has “enormous potential” to grow. “No other firm has been able to combine a boutique feel within an established, global financial institution without infringing on financial advisor autonomy, flexibility and choice,” he said.
Parker worked for 22 years as a broker and recruiter at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney and LPL Financial before joining HighTower in 2010.
A spokeswoman at HighTower, which has 69 offices and 189 financial advisors, according to its website, said it is “deeply appreciative of Michael’s many contributions to the firm, and wishes him the best at RBC.”
Parker will replace Sally Kolar, who had been had of advisor recruiting since 2016, according to LinkedIn. She left the firm in May after 10 years, according to Brokercheck.
Parker reports to Michael Armstrong, a former Morgan Stanley executive who is CEO of RBC US Wealth Management. The firm, which has around 1,800 brokers and $310 billion in assets under management, has been aggressively growing since affiliating with City National Bank and hiring Armstrong last year.
RBC has been hiring veteran brokers and extending deals of 250% to 300% of trailing-12 production at a time when wirehouses have been retreating from recruiting and lowering packages.
Parker’s role at HighTower changed as it shifted its business model from recruiting wirehouse veterans as equity partners to more of an independent broker-dealer model in which advisors pay fees for using its platform.
Several other executives and advisor teams have left the firm over the past year, including its former president, Michael La Mena, in August. Michael Papedis, a senior recruiter whose wife Kimberly Papedis remains at HighTower as head of national sales and platform strategy, also left in March.