HighTower loses $200M advisor to one of its former RIAs

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An advisor who saw approximately $200 million at HighTower left the firm to join Verdence Capital Advisors, an RIA that broke away from HighTower last month, a spokesman says.

Although HighTower has suffered from a few recent departures ― including another team that managed about $1 billion and also left last month ― the firm has pulled in several large breakaway teams and RIA acquisitions. The Chicago-based firm started the year by recruiting a $1 billion Wells Fargo team.

HighTower has also acquired several independent firms so far this year, including WealthTrust a $6.4 billion RIA aggregator.

Verdence's new recruit, advisor Charles Holt, will be in charge of the firm’s second office in Vienna, Virginia.

CEO Leo Kelly said in an interview last month that Verdence has ambitious growth goals, seeing potential for the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based RIA to be "a national firm."

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"We can see this model expanding so long as we can find the right people,” Kelly said.

Joining Verdence with Holt is private wealth associate Annie McCann and junior analyst Lucas Belanger, according to the firm.

Holt started his career at Merrill Lynch where he worked for 22 years before joining HighTower in 2012, according FINRA BrokerCheck records. He previously worked with the PagnatoKarp group at HighTower, according to Verdence. That team, like Verdence, departed from HighTower to form a separate RIA.

A HighTower spokeswoman could not be reached for immediate comment on Holt’s departure.

Additional reporting from Andrew Welsch.

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