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HighTower Group to Target Athletes, Celebrities

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A team affiliated with HighTower in the Baltimore area said Monday that it is now branching out into the world of advising athletes, coaches, entertainers and other VIPs. To establish itself in this market niche it hired Richard Rosa, formerly of Eastern Athletic Services.

“This exciting step forward for Kelly Wealth Management exemplifies HighTower’s commitment to innovation and growth,” said Michael Parker, national director of enterprise development for the wealth management firm, in a statement. “The HighTower culture actively supports teams like KWM that seize creative opportunities to build their practices and find new ways to meet the needs of their clients.”

Prior to moving to Kelly Wealth, Rosa worked as a sports agent for roughly the past two decades, representing NFL players and coaches.

“Athletes and entertainers face intense pressure and temptation, but many do not receive the education and counsel they need in order to plan for a secure financial future,” explained Rosa, in a press release. “The professionals at Kelly Wealth Management approach these clients’ unique challenges in a transparent, knowledgeable way that helps ensure prudent life decisions, and I am honored to become part of their distinguished team.”

In late 2014, Morgan Stanley (MS) set up the Global Sports & Entertainment group to serve the needs of the sports and entertainment industries.

“High-net-worth earners in the sports and entertainment industries have sophisticated wealth management requirements. Our services are provided by a group of experienced financial advisors, backed by specialized training and the full resources of a leading, global investment bank, which we believe will set a new standard in the industry,” said Gregory J. Fleming, president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, in a statement at the time.

Some advisors who have focused on helping athletes, though, stress that it is best to go after one particular type of pro player rather than focusing on those in a variety of sports. For FAs with Winpoint Financial, also in the Baltimore area, the sweet spot is baseball stars, like Cal Ripken Jr. and Mark Teixeira.

“What makes us special is that we have CPAs, CFPs and an RIA to do the holistic planning. We did at one point have some football players as clients, but it’s better to stay in a niche— better for both the financial advisors and clients,” said Joe Geier, head of Winpoint Financial, in an interview earlier this year. “Like working with doctors as clients, you have to know them inside and out.”

“Managing their money is difficult. You have to know what they are spending. It’s not a long-term business for everyone, because these guys have short careers … often retire by 35 and then draw down their earnings,” the CPA said. 

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