How I Did It
VIDEO  •  HOW I DID IT

This Investment Advisory Upstart Manages $20 Billion

Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of HighTower Advisors, has raised $165 million to pluck high-end investment advisors from established brokerage firms--and away from inherent conflicts.
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Video Transcript

00:08 Elliot Weissbluth: HighTower is the industry's first advisor-owned financial advisory business. We provide investment advice to wealthy families and institutions, and the way we do that is different from the way most firms do it, in that we have the ability to access the most sophisticated parts of Wall Street, but we don't have the conflicts of interest that have effectively destroyed people's confidence that they can get good advice from the major Wall Street firms.

00:43 Weissbluth: We're three years old, so we're just now beginning to, sort of, have a presence in the individual investor's mind. We're just beginning to become known in that community. So today, most of our business is, sort of, flowing from teams of advisors and their clients, moving from the old model over to the new model. We've raised a total of 165 million dollars; most of that is to then go and acquire and lift out these teams from the... Sort of, the big established conflicted brokerage firms. We're attracting the best financial advisors to come to HighTower and of course the best financial advisors have the trust and confidence of their clients. So the clients tend to follow the financial advisor when they join HighTower.

01:33 Weissbluth: What's changed dramatically is that the brands and the confidence that most people used to have in the Wall Street firms has been effectively destroyed. There's so much focus on the sale of the product and there's so much focus on the earnings of the companies, there's very little attention paid to providing true service to the individual households. And so we've built a business purely focused on providing that service. In our business, the advisors can pick and choose from what they think are the best products in the world, effectively, and they can exercise their judgment to do so, knowing that there is nothing going on inside of the business that they work for, that would create risks they don't understand, conflicts they're not aware of, or a competitive economic interest to what they are trying to do for the client. Not a single broker on a Wall Street firm can say what I just said. We're the only business that has the business model that we do, and so as a result of that we have gone from 0 to you know several hundred people, 0 to 20 billion of assets, our revenues are growing at around 250%. So clearly what we're doing is in the right part of the marketplace because of the speed at which we're accumulating assets and financial advisors and clients. It's a little exhausting.

Last updated: Jan 11, 2012