Rockefeller Makes First Advisor Hire With Billion-Dollar HighTower Team
Greg Fleming’s Rockefeller Capital Management has made its first financial advisor hire, picking up an eight-person group from HighTower Advisors as the New York-based firm looks to expand beyond its family office roots.
The Bapis Group, led by 45-year industry veteran Nick Bapis and his son, Michael, joined Rockefeller Wealth Management on Friday as employees and have renamed their practice Vios Advisors, according to an announcement from Rockefeller. Nick, who is based in Salt Lake City, and Michael, who has 20-years of experience and is based in New York City, managed a combined $1.2 billion in assets along with a six-person support staff, according to the release.
It is the second time that the two will be pitching their clients on the virtues of being early movers to a new wealth enterprise. When they left Morgan Stanley in 2008, they were the first wirehouse team to join HighTower, a Chicago-based aggregator, after its founding that same year, according to their former website.
“[W]e will look to honor and build upon the important legacy associated with the Rockefeller name,” the team said on its new Rockefeller website. “We also look forward to expanding our capabilities available to our clients, including sophisticated trust services, lending and strategic advisory services.”
Michael Bapis, who started his career at Morgan Stanley in 1998, according to BrokerCheck, did not return a call for additional comment on their move. Nick Bapis started in the brokerage industry at Morgan Stanley predecessor E.F. Hutton in 1973, according to BrokerCheck.
Fleming, who led Morgan Stanley’s wealth business from 2010 to 2016, has been hiring wirehouse veterans to build out the management and executive bench at the recapitalized Rockefeller since taking the reins in March this year. He is also said to be evaluating a purchase of Redwood City, California-based money manager CTC|myCFO.
A spokeswoman for Rockefeller declined to comment on the firm’s recruiting offers or whether the advisors received equity in exchange for joining.
The two are temporarily registering with New York broker-dealer Axiom Capital Management, where Fleming has been registered since January 2017, while Rockefeller awaits Financial Industry Regulatory Authority approval for its own broker-dealer license.
A HighTower spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on the Bapis Group’s departure.
HighTower initially lured wirehouse brokers like Bapis with the promise of more independence and equity that they could potentially cash out in an initial public offering. It has been shifting its business model to focus on larger acquisitions of existing registered investment advisory firms since it sold a majority stake to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners in January and last month said it was replacing its founder and chief executive, Elliot Weissbluth.