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Hightower Affiliate Merges With $280M RIA

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RIA aggregator Hightower facilitated an M&A transaction in which its affiliated New York advisory firm Fischer & Co. has merged with another New York advisory firm, the 54-year-old Stralem & Co., which has $280 million in assets under advisement.

The transaction has created Fischer Stralem Advisors, with combined AUA of about $800 million, Hightower announced Tuesday.

The merged firm joined the Hightower platform Sept. 25, according to its website, which is still under contruction.

Stralem’s Hirschel Abelson, Adam Abelson and Andrea Lustig have joined Fischer’s Alan Fischer and David Choe as partners of Fischer Stralem Advisors, which has a combined 13 employees, including five advisors who serve high-net-worth and ultra-high net worth clients and institutions, Hightower said.

“This united entity brings together two highly experienced teams with closely aligned service philosophies,” Alan Fischer, founder and a managing partner of Fischer, said in a statement. “Our collective intellectual capital — combined with Hightower’s operational and strategic support — will allow us to enhance service to our clients, nurture our next generation of leaders and attract new business.”

Hightower’s M&A team facilitated the sub-acquisition by providing Fischer with turnkey deal support.

“Support for inorganic growth is key part of Hightower’s business acceleration services,” according to Scott Holsopple, its chief growth officer, who said “Fischer joined Hightower in 2018 as one of Hightower’s early acquisitions.”

Hightower announced Dec. 3 that investor Thomas H. Lee Partners closed a secondary transaction with the firm. The latest commitment provides new capital to help “optimize Hightower’s value-creation potential and growth strategy,” according to the firms.

Hightower’s M&A team provides its Hightower advisors with a range of inorganic growth services, including sourcing, valuation, deal structuring, due diligence, legal and regulatory, pre- and post-close integration, and capital resources.

“For many stand-alone RIA firms, M&A is a key strategic goal, but it is difficult, risky and time-consuming to undertake on their own,” Bob Oros, Hightower CEO, said Tuesday.

Including the new “sub-acquisition,” Hightower’s M&A team has completed nine M&A transactions so far in 2020, after four in 2019.

Prior to the latest transaction, Hightower said it had taken a “significant” equity stake in Hart Financial Group, an $800 million financial advisory firm in Austin, Texas, that has five advisors.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, Hightower’s AUA was about $81.4 billion; its assets under management, $61.6 billion. It now has 113 advisory businesses in 33 states, offering them services designed to catalyze and accelerate their organic and inorganic growth, including technology, compliance, accounting, payroll, human resources, investment management and marketing support, it says.

— Check out The 4 Personality Keys to M&A Success on ThinkAdvisor.