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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chicago-based independent broker-dealer HighTower Advisors LLC said on Monday it received a $50 million credit line as SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) joined HighTower's other lenders, BMO Harris and PNC Bank, to help fuel the firm's broker recruiting plans.
"This is a pretty important milestone for us," said Elliot Weissbluth, HighTower's chief executive officer. SunTrust's decision "is a very strong indication that banks are willing to take risks to help fuel our growth."
Weissbluth declined to outline the terms of the deal beyond saying that they were typical of a bank revolving credit facility agreement. HighTower also secured a $100 million line of credit from BMO Harris Bank and PNC Bank last July.
HighTower sought the extra financing because more advisers are seeking to join its network division, Weissbluth said, where independent advisers pay HighTower 20 percent of their revenues to use the firm's technology, compliance and research services.
Founded in 2007, HighTower's 113 financial advisers manage on average $278 million in client assets, three times the industry average of $90.2 million, according to the financial research firm PriceMetrix.
For years, most advisers joined HighTower's partnership division, where they are employees of the company and hold equity in the firm.
The firm has a third channel for advisers who run registered independent advisory firms and use only some of HighTower's resources.
Michael Parker, national director for enterprise development at HighTower, said the network channel allows HighTower to bring on advisers in cities where HighTower may not have opened a partnership office.
While HighTower's firms have traditionally been based on the East Coast, Parker said there is increasing interest in the U.S. Midwest and West Coast.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Alan Crosby