HighTower Grabs Merrill Advisors With $800M in Florida

Two teams will merge to make up 44th HighTower Partners office

Two Merrill teams merged as part of HighTower Partners. Two Merrill teams merged as part of HighTower Partners.

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HighTower Partnership, which serves high-net-worth families and individuals, has opened up its fourth office in Fort Meyers, Florida.

The newly formed team, comprising Pamela Lynn Abraham, Jack E. Thomas and Trevor R. Swartz, will be the 44th to join the HighTower Partnership, according to a press release. 

Abraham spent 33 years at Merrill Lynch leading Pamela Lynn Abraham & Associates. The other two partners, Thomas and Schwartz, were leaders in Merrill Lynch’s Thomas & Swartz Global Wealth Management. The two teams have a total of $800 million in assets under management.

The new partners will also be bringing a few familiar faces with them, former colleagues Mathew Verrengia, director, senior wealth management advisor; Benita Alstatt, senior registered associate; and Tiffany Likness, client services associate.  

“HighTower gives us access to the top research and capital markets products without sacrificing our independence,” said Thomas, in a press release. “At a time when many people have lost trust and confidence in the traditional financial services system, HighTower provides the freedom and transparency we need to deliver advice and service that truly benefits our clients.”

Thomas Michael Parker, HighTower’s national director of enterprise development, told ThinkAdvisor that these partners were handpicked. “We look for the country’s top quality advisors,” Parker said. “However, they are top quality human beings first. They are committed, they care for their clients, and they exhibit the same qualities that we look for when searching for the best in the industry.”

Parker and his team are responsible for doing their due diligence when it comes to vetting the best advisors for every area of expertise, such as wealth management, asset allocation, multigenerational strategy, tax strategy and others.

“Pamela, Jack and Trevor will maintain their entrepreneurial culture as members of the HighTower Partnership, while benefiting from a unique service and technology platform that is engineered to meet the evolving needs of investors," Parker said in a statement. 

Parker added that the company’s vetting process was not only about finding highly successful advisors, but guiding them once they’ve made it onto the team. “There are two ventricle forces, one for business development professionals solely focused on alliance opportunities with the company, and the other is an incumbent team, which focuses helping them [new advisors] grow and move forward.”

The second part of this process relates to an intercompany program set up by the advisors, for the advisors, called Blueprint for Growth.

HighTower’s Blueprint for Growth system might be a salient attraction for many impressionable advisors, especially these three partners. “It’s authored by our advisors, from how to care for clients and how to grow a business,”  Parker said.

“I remember sharing this information with them [Abraham, Thomas and Schwartz] and they were intrigued because they had never heard of anything like this before,” Parker said.  

Said Abraham in the statement: “Joining HighTower is like ‘coming home’ to a firm where everyone is dedicated solely to acting in the best interests of clients. We believe HighTower’s innovative approach to delivering unobstructed financial advice and providing teams like ours with the resources they need to flourish is the way of the future.”

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