HighTower snagged its biggest wirehouse team yet on Monday. A team of four former Morgan Stanley advisors with $600 million in client assets joined the HighTower Network as Gryphon Financial Partners this week.
Led by principal Joel Guth, the group oversees approximately 100 households and successful business owners, specializing in pre-liquidity planning, deal execution, and post-deal wealth management. The Gryphon team consists of co-principal Cathy Cory, financial advisors Angelo Manzo and Judy Roseberry, as well as associates Maria Kardassilaris, Jean Sturges and Kathy Payne.
For Gryphon, it was the resources and support of the HighTower Network that drew the team, Guth says. “HighTower’s sophisticated service infrastructure and cutting-edge technology platform really distinguished it from other options,” he says, noting this wasn’t a decision he and his team made lightly. "We also found a mutual alignment in our views of keeping client’s interest paramount to all else, which was instrumental in our decision to join the Network."
Only a few days in, Guth says the team has had a very positive response from clients on the transition to HighTower. Many have already committed and the team is substantially ahead of plan, Guth says.
The Gryphon team is the third to join the HighTower Network, which includes a $384 million trio from Wells Fargo that joined last month and another ex-Morgan Stanley team, Twickenham Wealth Advisors, with $500 million in assets that joined in September 2013.
The network, which launched a year ago, is designed to offer breakaway advisors an infrastructure—from technology, compliance and operations—that fuels growth, but reduces business risks, says CEO Elliot Weissbluth. “We’re the best at lifting out wirehouse teams,” he says. “We focus on the needs of wirehouse advisors that are finding their own path toward independence."
Advisors tell Weissbluth time and time again that it’s HighTower’s service infrastructure and mix of the collaborative, partnership culture under a credible brand that appeals to them. Weissbluth says there are already “a number of teams” committed to join HighTower Network, as well as the firm’s partnership and alliance channels. “We expect to have another 3 to 4 teams onboard before fall,” he says.
But while Hightower may have a full pipeline, the firm is not lowering its standards. “The one characteristic that you can’t fake in this industry, and one we rigorously evaluate, is a genuine passion about being a service provider for clients,” Weissbluth says.
Updated May 7, 11:45 a.m. to include additional comments from Joel Guth.