Billion Dollar Merrill Lynch Private Banking Team Joins the HighTower Partnership

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HighTower, the nation's first advisor-owned financial services firm, announced today that another high profile team has joined the company and will be based in New York.

HSW Advisors, who were previously with Merrill Lynch Private Banking, becomes the fourth new financial advisor team to join HighTower Partnership this year. HSW stands for Kenneth Hoffman, CIMA®; Richard Steinberg; and Jordan Waxman, CFP®, CIMA®. They're joining HighTower as Partners and Managing Directors.

The team manages more than $1.4 billion for approximately 50 clients, including families, foundations, endowments, unions and pension plans. With this most recent addition, HighTower now has 60 financial advisors in its New York office.

The reason for the move according to Mr. Waxman was that "after many years in large Wall Street banks, we simply wanted to deliver the most un-conflicted and objective advice and service to our clients."

Mr. Waxman joined Merrill Lynch in 2002, after eight years as a wealth manager with Goldman Sachs. He is a member of the State Bars of New York and Massachusetts. Mr. Waxman was recently named as one of Worth magazine's Top 250 Wealth Advisors.

Mr. Hoffman has been advising wealthy families since 1981. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 1994, he worked at firms including Lehman Brothers and E.F. Hutton. Mr. Hoffman was named one of Worth magazine's Top 250 Wealth Advisors for 2008 and one of Barron's Top 1000 Advisors.

Steinberg joined Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment Group in 2002, after spending 13 years as a wealth manager with Goldman Sachs & Co. Mr. Steinberg was named one of the Top 1000 Advisors by Barron's in 2009.

HighTower is a national, advisor-owned financial services company serving high net worth and institutional clients headquartered in Chicago, with corporate centers in New York and San Francisco as well as other offices across the country.

Today's announcement comes at a time when nearly half (45 percent) of all financial advisors at big banks are thinking about severing ties with their employers over the next year and a half or so, according to a recent report from the Aite-Group.

Top Producers Feeling “Freer” to Break Retention Agreements

According to the report, top producers with big books of business such as the HSW group are feeling freer to break their retention agreements—which had been one way of keeping advisors locked in at their firms over a multi-year period.

“We see the top echelon of brokers being less bound to those retention packages,” Alois Pirker, an Aite Group research director specializing in wealth management market trends told eFinancialCareers.

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