RIA Rising

Former MSSB branch manager takes administrative role at HighTower

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RiederHighTower Advisors isn’t interested in recruiting just advisors from wirehouses; the hybrid registered investment advisor is also signing up administrators from the big full-service brokerages. The company today said it has hired Ann T. Rieder (right), formerly branch manager for a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney office in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. that has $2 billion in assets. Rieder, who joined Smith Barney in 1996, is a managing director at HighTower, based at the company’s Chicago headquarters. She started Monday and will work with company advisors in the Midwest.

HighTower Chief Executive Elliot Weissbluth said Rieder is one of four top administrators who will serve as “branch managers” of a sort with the 50 advisor partners at the company. The company hopes to hire two more by next year, one to work with West Coast advisors and the other to work with advisors in the Southwest. Weissbluth said the directors would help advisors with fiduciary issues and marketing and public relations planning, among other things. “A lot of this is old-fashioned business development,” Weissbluth said. Unlike at wirehouses, where branch manager loyalty is divided between the firm and the advisor, he said, the directors' interests will dovetail with those of the advisors. (Compliance issues will continue to be handled by a separate office, he added.)

Rieder also has joined HighTower’s Diversity Council, a group aimed at broadening the demographic makeup of the firm. One task is to increase the number of American military veterans, Weissbluth said. The company currently employs about 200. Also on the Diversity Council is Margaret M. Towle, formerly managing director and head of research at Greycourt, a Pittsburgh RIA; she joined HighTower in August.

Diversity is one of the topics on HighTower's agenda at next week's partners' meeting in Los Angeles, a twice-a-year event at which the company discusses budgeting and strategic planning.

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