Breaking away from a 25-year cAR-eer at First Albany was a bit of nail biter for Hugh Johnson.

Though he and his seven-member investment management team were committed to moving forward on their own, buying out the practice he had started at First Albany in 1994 required borrowing money. And without a big institution behind him, Johnson — the firm’s primary rainmaker — fretted about pulling in enough clients to create a thriving business.

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