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Morgan Stanley Vet Scouts HighTower FA, Joins His Firm Instead

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In a nod to March Madness, the rollup trend rolls on—much to the chagrin of many larger wirehouses.

HighTower, an independent advisor-owned financial services firm, announced on Wednesday that it had added former Morgan Stanley senior vice president and branch manager Thomas New to its Kelly Wealth Management practice in Baltimore.

In an ironic turn, New originally tried to recruit Kelly Wealth Management’s Leo Kelly for Morgan Stanley but was so impressed by the HighTower model that he decided to join the firm instead.

New has his work cut out for him, as part of his job description is to “reignite the boutique wealth management culture in Baltimore,” as many local Baltimore firms have been absorbed into larger firms. Kelly counts it as an objective as Hightower claims to offer autonomy to its members.

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“The client-focused perspective that separates boutique wealth managers from larger firms is ingrained in the HighTower culture,” Kelly said in a statement. “Tom will use his business development expertise to strengthen our offering—personalized service, a holistic vision and long-term strategies which clients require to navigate today’s increasingly complex financial markets. He understands that boutique wealth management practices like HighTower’s Kelly Wealth Management excel at this mission because it is our driving focus.”

Under New’s leadership, Morgan Stanley’s Hunt Valley office consisted of approximately 50 financial advisors. He received Morgan Stanley’s Manager Leadership Award three times during his tenure. In 2009, he helped the Hunt Valley office absorb Smith Barney’s location in Towson, Md. 

In addition to New, HighTower’s Kelly Wealth Management added Matt Moore as a managing director and partner in January. Moore, who previously served as a senior financial advisor and first vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch, manages $250 million in assets and works with affluent families, individual clients, closely held businesses and nonprofit organizations.

“The strategic growth we continue to experience at our practices throughout the country further validates that the HighTower model is changing the face of the financial services industry,” said Mike Papedis, executive vice president of business development at HighTower. “The strength of the HighTower approach is demonstrated by the fact that our teams are able to leverage HighTower’s benefits to continually recruit dynamic advisors who are committed to ensuring clients benefit from both a fiduciary standard and unobstructed investment advice.”