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Hightower Strikes 6th Deal of 2020 in North Carolina

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Continuing its strategic investment growth  six firms so far this year   Hightower Advisors has bought a stake of $1.3 billion wealth manager Stearns Financial Group. The new team is the 111th advisory business for the Chicago-based RIA.

North Carolina-based Stearns has 32 employees, including 12 advisors. It specializes in advisor business owners, executives, multi-generational families and the emerging affluent.

“Stearns Financial Group is exactly the kind of business that Hightower looks for in a strategic investment: a high-performing firm that uses an in-depth, multi-scenario approach to wealth management to help their clients live purposeful lives and make confident financial decisions,” said Hightower CEO Bob Oros in a statement.

As of June 30, Hightower’s assets under advisement were close to $76 billion, while assets under management were nearly $57 billion.

The new advisory firm will use Hightower’s operational infrastructure, business owner planning, marketing support, family office and investment management services.

“This is a natural strategic evolution for Stearns Financial Group,” according to Dennis Stearns, founder and president. “Being a part of Hightower’s powerful community of advisors will allow us to leverage the benefits of a national RIA while maintaining our well-established brand, culture and business structure.”

For Stearns, the deal means it can focus more on financial planning, investment management and client service, while Hightower provides it with back office support, advanced technology and NextGen training, he added.

Haleh Moddasser, Stearns senior wealth advisor and partner, said “Hightower gives us access to an even broader array of wealth management, family office and trust options.”

Hightower’s strategic investment binge over the past month or so has included Teak Tree Capital Management, a $600 million RIA in Fort Worth, Texas.

Earlier, the RIA aggregator bought a stake in Frontier Investment Management, a Dallas-based wealth advisory firm with nine offices and $3.3 billion in assets under management.

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