Over the last couple of years, HighTower has built a nationwide partnership of financial advisory practices by luring in the cream of the crop among registered reps and independent advisors with its open-architecture setup.

Now, it has created a group investment solutions division, and put Matthias Paul Kuhlmey in charge. Kuhlmey is a private banking veteran, and oversees a group a three-pronged approach to enhancing advisors’ businesses at HighTower, the company announced on Monday.

The investment offerings committee will offer top-flight investment management services to its advisor partners, Kuhlmey said in a phone interview. “We want to form a center of competence, so that within Hightower, our partners can come to one point and say I’m ‘looking for this.’”

There is also the investment consulting committee, which will use quantitative analysis to tackle clients’ specific investment needs. The third piece is the research offering committee, which is built around research that HighTower can access through its relationships with asset custody firms and capital markets firms. Kuhlmey said HighTower has a very established pool of opinions and ideas from analysts around the world. That research should help its advisor partners inform themselves better as they run their portfolio strategies.

The beauty of the research piece, Kuhlmey said, is that it can pull back and take the best of Wall Street’s perspectives, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. HighTower partners, who sometimes come out of brokerage firms, will not be restricted to their firm’s point of view about investing and money management.

“The way we add value is we have a much broader insight into what the market thinks out there,” Kuhlmey said. “This will be made available to our partners within Hightower and it is there to help them build better portfolios and better solutions for their clients.”

It is all about the clients for Kuhlmey. Always has been. He had been a private banker at worked for UBS’s Private Wealth Management Office in New York and oversaw the New York-based Domestic Private Banking Team at Bank Julius Baer, previously.

The latter used a traditional approach to private banking, wherein managers also had clients, kept their minds trained on what was best for them and built solutions from the ground up, not by engineering products and then sending them down through a distribution channel.

Kuhlmey also spent 10 years at Deutsche Bank in New York, where he was actively involved in projects leading to the integration of Bankers Trust Co. into Deutsche Bank’s U.S. operations. He also worked in its Frankfurt office, as a member of its divisional board member team.

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Also on the move this week:

Amy Mathis has joined Advisors Asset Management as a senior vice president in charge of its client relations group. Mathis had been senior vice president and executive director of the Retirement Solutions Group at Lincoln Financial Distributors.

Aviva Investors hired Michael Milligan as director of institutional sales in North America. He will be based out of New York and develop new business with Taft Hartley pension plans. Milligan had developed a Taft Hartley practice for Amalgamated Bank.

Neuberger Berman Group appointed Eli M. Salzman managing director and portfolio manager, specializing in U.S. large-cap value equity strategies. He was a partner at Lord, Abbett & Co., where he managed more than $10 billion in U.S. large-cap value equity assets. Salzman, 46, had been at Lord Abbett since 1997 and previously worked at Mutual of America and Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management.

Thornburg Investment Management, based in Santa Fe, N.M., has made several changes to its municipal bond portfolio management team. Christopher Ryon, was named co-portfolio manager of the Thornburg Limited Term Municipal Fund. He had been associate portfolio manger for several of the company’s funds. Christopher Ihlfeld was named co-portfolio manager of the Thornburg Strategic Municipal Income Fund. Also, George Strickland will no longer serve as co-portfolio manager of Thornburg municipal funds or as an institutional portfolio manager, but he will remain part of the fixed-income team.

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