August 20, 2012 / 9:01 PM / 5 years ago

HighTower adds $1 billion adviser team in Chicago

(Reuters) - HighTower Advisors LLC, an independent broker-owned firm that has expanded by hiring away from top U.S. brokerages, landed a team of veteran advisers in Chicago that managed $1 billion in client assets.

Advisers Matt Dillig and Ted Bowen joined HighTower on Friday from Credit Suisse, where they had been since 2008. Dillig said he and Bowen decided to go independent because they wanted to be able to offer their clients a greater diversity of investment choices.

“We have very sophisticated clients that appreciate options,” he said in an interview on Monday. “When you’re serving ultra-high-net-worth families, more choices are always better as they relate to investment opportunities and custodial relationships.”

Adviser teams at HighTower are able to work with several independent securities holders, or “custodians,” such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity and JP Morgan, instead of keeping their clients’ assets with one custodian - a common practice at the brokerages of big firms.

“HighTower has done a lot of the legwork negotiating relationships with custodians and product providers,” he said. “It’s difficult for any one standalone RIA (registered investment adviser) to do that.”

Dillig, who was named to Barron’s 2012 list of top financial advisers, had also previously spent a decade at Merrill Lynch’s private banking and investment group before joining Credit Suisse. Bowen also started as an adviser at Merrill.

The advisers, based out of HighTower’s headquarters in Chicago, are the eighth new adviser team to join the firm year. They joined as partners and managing directors.

This year, HighTower has also added advisers in Arizona, California, Maryland, New York and Virginia, from firms including Credit Suisse, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

“It seems like more and more advisers are choosing to make a change to be independent every day,” Dillig said. “It’s exciting to be a part of a culture that is growing.”

Reporting by Ashley Lau in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson

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