Hightower Advisors is a Chicago-based, private equity-backed network of advisors, many of whom operate under individual brand names. The advisors provide investment advisory, wealth management and financial planning services, among others.
There is generally no minimum amount required to invest with the firm, which means Hightower Advisors is accessible to all levels of investors. The firm currently oversees $74.5 billion in assets under management (AUM), with office locations throughout the U.S.
The bottom line: Hightower Advisors is a wealth management firm that caters largely to non-high net worth investors, but you’ll need to meet with an advisor to find out the costs involved as there’s no published fee schedule.
|Assets under management: $74,500,000,000|
|Minimum investment: Typically no minimum|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 265:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM; hourly charges; fixed fees; other (retainer or service fees, or some combination of all of the above)|
|Headquarters: 200 W. Madison St., Suite 2500 Chicago, IL 60606
All information included in this profile is accurate as of December 14, 2021. For more information, please consult Hightower Advisors’ website.
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Hightower Advisors was founded in 2008. The firm offers its financial advisory services through its network of over 100 advisory firms across the U.S., many of which operate under different names.
Hightower Advisors is wholly owned by Hightower Holding, LLC. Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners holds a majority stake in the parent company of Hightower Holding, although some advisors and employees also have an ownership stake.
In recent years, the firm has grown via RIA acquisitions. Currently, the firm has over 670 employees on staff, including more than 580 who serve as investment advisors.
Hightower Advisors was founded by Elliot Weissbluth, an attorney and financial services executive who served as the firm’s CEO until 2019, and then as chairman until retiring from that position in late 2020.
Weissbluth is a very well-known figure in the RIA space. He has received recognition as a top industry influencer from publications including Investment News and Investment Advisor, and appeared on networks such as CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business.
The majority of Hightower’s clients are non-high net worth individuals, although the largest share of the firm’s assets under management is from high net worth clients. For reference, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines high net worth individuals as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.
The firm does not have a minimum account balance. However, it notes that certain services and fee structures may not benefit portfolios of less than $500,000 due to the impact of trading and transaction costs.
Hightower Advisors provides a range of financial services to clients, including financial planning and investment advisory services, offered through its individual investment practices that each have their own strategy and focus.
Most of Hightower Advisor’s investment management services are offered on a discretionary basis, meaning it does not consult the client before making every trade. Advisors may or may not regularly review and update client financial plans, depending on the terms of the client agreement.
Here is a full list of services that Hightower Advisors provides:
In early 2020, Hightower Advisors launched a new branding campaign centered around the tagline “well-th. rebalanced,” aimed at conveying the firm’s collective focus on holistic financial wellness. Rather than simply focusing on money, the firm emphasizes its understanding that wealth is also about “freedom, security, philanthropy, legacy [and] balance.”
Because Hightower is comprised of a network of individual advisors, they each may take a unique approach to investment management. However, the firm has an Investment Solutions group, made up of a team based in both New York City and Chicago and led by chief investment officer and portfolio strategist Stephanie Link, that can offer assistance and support to the firm’s advisors as needed.
Available options for investment advisor clients include the firm’s discretionary advisory service, where the firm develops an investment policy statement for a client based on their objectives and then creates a portfolio accordingly, or its investment management/wealth consulting services, where the firm provides investment recommendations to the client and other related services on a limited basis but does not have the authority to make trades on the client’s behalf. Clients can also opt for Outsourced Chief Investment Officer solutions, wherein clients can choose between two portfolio categories, multi-asset portfolios and individual-security separately managed accounts.
Depending on the services provided and the agreement between the client and the advisor, Hightower Advisors earns money through a percentage of assets under management, fixed fees and/or other one-time fees. Clients who receive limited-scope financial planning or wealth management may pay hourly fees, which are also determined on a case-by-case basis.
Wealth management clients can either get services through a wrap program, in which the fee will cover all transaction costs, or they can opt out of the wrap program and pay all transaction costs separately.
Additionally, clients may be responsible for other investment-related fees and costs, such as fees and expenses charged by mutual funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), exchange-traded funds, alternative investments and other collective investment vehicles.
Hightower Advisors did not have any disciplinary events to disclose, meaning it has a clean record. All registered investment advisors are required to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal events related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates in their Form ADV paperwork that they file with the SEC.
For more information on the firm, visit its Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.
Hightower Advisors has its headquarters in Chicago. It also has office locations in the following states, plus the District of Columbia:
Hightower Advisors may be a good choice for investors looking for holistic financial planning and discretionary portfolio management. The firm’s presence in 34 states also makes it accessible for investors in many regions. However, some of the firm’s products and services may not be a good fit for investors with less than $500,000 to invest. Additionally, some advisors may earn commissions for recommending certain insurance products, which could pose a conflict of interest.
As always, when choosing financial services, it’s important to understand the experience of the provider and how much you’re paying for its services. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.