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Rockefeller Capital Lures HighTower’s First Recruit

September 10, 2018

Rockefeller Capital Management has poached one of its most highest-profile recruits, in large part due to Greg Fleming, the former president of Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley now heading the firm, according to RIABiz.

Michael Bapis, who had joined HighTower Advisors a decade ago, is joining Rockefeller, several sources who asked not be to named tell the web publication. Fleming was allegedly “a key magnet for the poach,” RIABiz writes.

Rockefeller confirmed the hire in a press release Monday morning.

“The Bapis Group has helped generations of families preserve and grow their wealth, employing the same long-term, client-centric approach to wealth planning that we do at Rockefeller Wealth Management,” said Fleming in a statement. “As we continue to add to the capabilities of our existing platform, we are focused on the seamless integration of new advisors and teams to ensure they continue to serve clients with the same sophistication and integrity that our family office clients have relied on for decades.”

Bapis was HighTower CEO Elliot Weissbluth’s first wirehouse breakaway and advisor partner in 2008, according to RIABiz.

Bapis’s assets under management are unclear but published reports put it at $800 million in 2012, the publication writes.

HighTower’s spokeswoman told RIABiz Friday that the firm could not comment at the time. The Bapis Group has an office in New York, from which Bapis is known to primarily work, RIABiz writes. The Bapis Group also has an office in Salt Late City, known to be headed by Bapis’s father Nick Bapis, RIABiz writes.

The father-and-son team had joined HighTower from Morgan Stanley, where Bapis senior had been since 1988 and Bapis junior since 1997, according to the web publication.

Fleming has made several hires from rivals since joining Rockefeller, primarily from Morgan Stanley. In August, Fleming recruited Chris Dupuy, who had left Focus Financial Partners a few weeks after Focus’s initial public opening in July, RIABiz reported.

Dupuy and Fleming had worked at the same time at Merrill Lynch.

HighTower, meanwhile, began looking for Weissbluth’s replacement last month.

Weissbluth will become chairman of HighTower’s board once his replacement is found, a spokeswoman for the firm told FA-IQ in an emailed statement at the time.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include confirmation from Rockefeller of the Bapis hire.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the RIABiz article cited in this story, click here.