HighTower’s Top Recruiter Shifts Role
HighTower Advisors’ chief development officer Michael P. Parker, whose senior recruiting role made him a linchpin of the company’s core growth strategy, is stepping down from the role after more than six years, according to multiple sources inside and outside the firm.
Parker, who since the fall of 2010 has been a close advisor to HighTower founder and chief executive Elliot Weissbluth, will serve as a consultant to the Chicago-based company as “senior advisor to the CEO,” the people said.
“I am still with HighTower and doing well,” Parker wrote in an email. He declined to elaborate on whether his role has changed or on future plans for himself and the firm.
HighTower was formed in 2007 as a haven for ‘breakaway” brokers from large broker-dealers looking to become registered investment advisers with mostly fee-based businesses. It currently It has 202 financial advisors in 59 offices, according to its website.
Parker’s 22-year history as a broker and recruiter at Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley and LPL Finanical suited him well for a role reaching out to old-time brokers looking to change their operational models from traditional transactional business to fee-based investment and planning.
But HighTower’s model of bringing in veteran brokers as partners has changed. It is now focused primarily on selling platform services to registered investment advisers, and helping them grow through internal recruiting without giving up equity to them.
Like other so-called roll-up firms that buy individual practices, HighTower ran into start-up challenges during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. It also has been under pressure from its financial backers to help them realize gains from their investments, said people familiar with the company.
HighTower Holding LLC, which also includes broker-dealer and insurance affiliates, has capital investments from M.D. Sass Macquarie Financial Strategies Fund, Macquarie Funds Group, Franklin Mutual Advisors LLC, Envestnet and Offit Capital, according to its March 2017 ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Parker’s apparent move follows the departure of another recruiter, Michael Papedis, last month and could signal broader organizational moves, the sources said. Papedis, who now runs recruiting firm Fusion Financial Partners, said his departure was personal and amicable. He added that he was not aware of a change in Parker’s role.
HighTower’s assets under management have grown 115% since 2012, Parker wrote on his LinkedIn profile. The firm as of late last month had $28.3 billion in assets under management, according to its ADV filing.
Weissbluth did not respond to requests for comment.