Advisor-owned financial services company HighTower Advisors has hired a three-member Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial advisor team in Vienna, Va.

The new team, which operates under the name VWG Wealth Management, includes John Verfurth, Richard Weeks and Jeff Grinspoon. They will each serve as managing director and partner at HighTower.

Verfurth comes to HighTower after 16 years at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Weeks joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2001, after having served at Legg Mason Wood Walker since 1994. Grinspoon also joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2001 from Legg Mason, which he first joined in 1998.

The new hires mark the latest addition for Chicago-based HighTower, which has about 24 teams nationally. The firm plans to expand nationally in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz., HighTower Managing Director of Business Development Mike Papedis has said. HighTower typically targets the top two or three teams in an area with more than $300 million in assets under management.

In a wealth management hiring study released by financial services research firm Aite Group in June, roll-up strategies like HighTower’s were met with a mixed reception by brokers looking to go independent. Of the wirehouse breakaways, 71% indicated a high level of interest in the roll-up model, which often comes with an ownership stake in the firm. At the same time, only 13% of non-wirehouse brokers looking to go independent expressed the same level of interest in that model.



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