RIA firm HighTower announced Tuesday that it was expanding once again with a breakaway advisor team, the Simmons Wilkes Group, formerly affiliated with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Based in Portland, Maine, Edward Simmons, Gibson Wilkes, Blake Wilkes and Michael Simmons join as managing directors and partners at HighTower. Previously, the Simmons Wilkes Group spent more than 30 years combined at Merrill Lynch.
“The Simmons Wilkes Group brings an impeccable reputation with deep industry experience, and we are proud to welcome them to our firm,” said Mike Papedis, HighTower’s managing director of business development, in a statement.
HighTower, a Chicago-based RIA serving high net worth and institutional clients, in the last year has attracted a raft of brokerage teams from major wirehouses to partner under its RIA umbrella. The firm’s standard approach, as led by Elliot Weissbluth (left), is to bring in a wirehouse team looking for the benefits of independence and partnership. The firm also has offices in New York and San Francisco.
Simmons, senior vice president of investments at Simmons Wilkes, joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 and holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University. He was a Barron’sTop 1000 Financial Advisor in 2010 and 2009, and the Simmons Wilkes Group was among Barron’s Top 50 U.S. advisor teams in 2009.