Financial services firm HighTower has continued its national expansion with the hiring of three financial advisors from Merrill Lynch and Presidio Group to work out of its new offices in Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Both new offices opened on Feb. 17.

In Baltimore, HighTower has hired Leo J. Kelly III and Brian Grumbach, a financial advisor team from Merrill Lynch who previously operated under the name Kelly Group. They previously had $700 million in client assets under management. Together, they are tasked with leading the firm’s Baltimore-area expansion, and each serve as managing director and partner.

“I considered several options and determined that joining HighTower is better for my clients, better for my team and better for my family,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. While at Merrill Lynch, Kelly served as a senior portfolio manager in the Personal Investment Advisory Program.

In Los Angeles, James Hausberg joins HighTower as a managing director and partner from Presidio, where he served as managing director. Hausberg oversaw $400 million in client assets. Hausberg also previously served at Bear Stearns and Credit Suisse before joining Presidio in 2005.

“In today’s environment, independence alone is no longer sufficient to meet the complex needs of high net worth families,” Hausberg said in a statement. “Financial advisors must also have access to sophisticated resources, a comprehensive wealth management platform and world class support.”

The news is the latest addition for HighTower, which also announced the opening of its first Scottsdale, Ariz., office, and hiring of an advisor team from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Graystone Consulting business last month.

Lorie Konish writes for On Wall Street.




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