HighTower Recruits Merrill Lynch PBIG Vet in Minnesota
The Minneapolis-based advisor, who began his brokerage career in Minneapolis in 1995 at Ameriprise predecessor IDS Life Insurance Co and American Express Financial Advisors, had clients with $315 million of assets when he gave notice Friday to Merrill, according to HighTower.
Gilliand said he looked into numerous alternatives to the wirehouse channel, and found HighTower’s “open-source offering” of products and services the most compelling. He declined to discuss why he was dissatisfied with Merrill.
Barry Knight, Gilliand’s former partner at Merrill, who remains at the firm with another advisor, declined to comment on the departure.
Gilliand joined Hightower’s partner channel, meaning he has equity in the company. Gilliand and two client associates, who are opening HighTower’s first office in Minneapolis, are the fourth group to join this year.
HighTower was founded in 2007 with the intent of being a national franchise of former wirehouse brokers. Like similar organizations that seek to buy going practices, it grew in fits and starts through the turbulent years of the financial crisis and beyond, and has since added an independent channel to its employee/partner model.
It has 51 offices in 22 states employing 156 financial advisors.
Prior to joining Merrill in June 2006, Gilliand was managing director in charge of tax compliance at US Trust’s UST Securities Corp., according to Hightower.