From the August 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

August 1, 2009

Camera-Shy CEO

Sidebar to the Cover Story "Free"

Elliot Weissbluth is a man on a mission. As CEO of HighTower advisors, he is the public face and voice of a firm with a unique business model that is backed by some of the smartest entrepreneurs in the advisor and financial services business--Dave Pottruck, Phil Purcell, Morris Offit, etc.--and which has attracted some of the top Wall Street advisors to the firm. Intense and articulate, he easily explains the benefits of HighTower's multi-custodian, multi-clearing firm approach: "the client wants a competitive process" when it comes to where that clients' business will be conducted. He stresses that HighTower does not recruit in the traditional sense at all: "members of the partnership get involved" when a prospective new partner is introduced; that each advisor partner has his own P&L, and that the business model is structured so that as each partner grows his business and becomes more profitable, the entire partnership benefits; and that while "we are not technology innovators," again it is the advisor partners who decide which software platforms to bring in house to take advantage of HighTower's scale in pricing, or which custodian or clearing firm platform to use.

However, when approached about using his photograph on the cover, Weissbluth was adamant that such a cover would send the wrong message. HighTower is all about the advisors, he said, and for once at least, a CEO stepped back from the spotlight in favor of, well, his partners.

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