LCK Wealth Management in New York, formerly affiliated with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s Private Banking & Investment Group, has joined HighTower, with the firm’s leader, Laurie Kamhi, becoming a partner and managing director of the Chicago-based firm. LCK is the 41st team to move to HighTower since the firm’s inception in 2008; Kamhi and her partners, Christine Torrey and Karman Tong, will be based in HighTower’s Midtown New York headquarters.
LCK is the third ex-wirehouse team to join HighTower in as many weeks. The first was Klein Wealth Management, based in Melville, N.Y., and led by Peter Klein, a former UBS advisor. Second was another former Merrill Lynch advisor team, The Andriole Group of Madison, Conn., led by Michael Andriole.
The addition of LCK Wealth reflects the type of firm that is attracted to HighTower, and its desire to bring on more firms led by women, said Michael Parker, HighTower’s national director of enterprise development. Kamhi, he said, is “one of the top female advisors in the industry, and has been for some time,” praising her for being “particularly adept in dealing with high-net-worth and ultra-HNW clients.” Moreover, Parker said “we want to grow that demographic of this business; if we’re trying to grow market share, we need top-caliber women advisors so you can capture that market.”
While attracting female advisors is a focus, Parker said “we won’t sacrifice for quality, for caliber, for fiduciary-minded, sophisticated advisors” who are increasingly attracted to one of HighTower’s multiple models of affiliation.
While acknowledging that adding three teams in one month is “is significant” for HighTower, Parker said all three teams who’ve joined this month “are very careful in their due diligence; it takes months.” Even when they know someone who’s already joined HighTower, which is becoming more and more the case, he said, those teams “still have to go through their own due diligence process.”
That process includes getting answers to three primary questions, Parker said. First, is whether a move to HighTower would benefit their clients. “Does an unconflicted, transparent, fiduciary model improve their relationship with their clients?” Second is whether the HighTower culture is better for them. “Is HighTower made up of advisors like themselves?” Finally, they want to know what kind of support they’ll receive for their practice compared to what they enjoyed at their former wirehouse employers.