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Hightower Nears Launch of National Trust Company

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What You Need to Know

  • The RIA has tapped Tanya D. Simpson, the former managing director of Charles Schwab Trust Co., to lead the business.
  • It expects to get regulatory approval by the middle of the fourth quarter, says CEO Bob Oros.
  • Hightower works with some 400 affiliated advisors nationwide.

Hightower Advisors says it has received “conditional approval” from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to convert its Texas-based trust company into a nationally chartered trust company.

“We expect the doors to open in the middle of the fourth quarter and for sure by year-end,” said Hightower Chairman and CEO Bob Oros in an interview. After 18 months of work on the development with the OCC, “We are very excited about it,” Oros added. 

Based in Houston with an office in Chicago, the national trust company will let the 400 advisors affiliated with Hightower provide trust services to their clients. (These advisors work with about $98 billion in assets under management and $121 billion of assets under advisement.)

The trust services “will be available for all our advisors as another tool for complex planning and providing advice tied to multigenerational wealth, tax, estate and other issues,” said Oros. “We view it as a really critical service to provide to our advisors.”

The head of the national trust will be Tanya D. Simpson, CFP, the former managing director of Charles Schwab Trust Co. and an attorney.

“We did a very thorough search … and had a great group of candidates for this role,” Oros explained. “Tanya should be a tremendous fit for us.”

Hightower has a custodial relationship with Charles Schwab/TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and BNY Mellon Pershing. “And we are one of the biggest RIA clients of each of them,” Oros said.   

More Trust Details 

The trust company’s board will be led by Stephen Strake, senior managing director of Hightower Texas. Its other members are Hightower Chief Solutions Officer Cat Davies; Hightower Chief Administrative and Legal Officer Scot Kees; and Simpson.

Independent board members include Cathy Lemieux, a former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Department of Regulation and Supervision; Dawn Causey, retired general counsel of the American Bankers Association; and Tim Divis, retired regional counsel for the FDIC’s Chicago Regional Office.  

After it is granted OCC approval, Hightower Trust Co. will offer a personal trust investment management, as well as custody and safekeeping products. This includes discretionary investment management services for managed and non-managed accounts, custody and escrow services, and agency services such as administrative support to other fiduciaries, principals of partnerships, limited liability companies and other legal entities.  

(Pictured: Tanya D. Simpson)