Elliot Weissbluth started RIA firm HighTower by asking, “If we had a blank piece of paper and a blank slate and I started with my mom as the client, what would she expect from a thoughtful financial advisor?”

From that question, Elliot worked backward and built a business that has grown from $0 to $30 billion in assets in less than 10 years. Mom would no doubt be proud!

In today’s podcast, Elliot and I have a deep discussion about…

  • How HighTower raised $65 million in institutional money before they even had their first client and $165 million in the first 2 years.
  • Why he fires himself every year and how it leads to better leadership.
  • The one metric all RIAs should track.
  • The two things their advisors do (and don’t do) to grow organically at double the industry rate.
  • The three keys to building a thriving RIA in the years ahead.
  • Who will be disrupted by robo technology.

There are so many gems in this episode.

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Elliot Weissbluth

– Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HighTower

– Worth Magazine Power 100 list

– Investment Advisor’s list of Top 25 Most Influential People in the Industry

– LinkedIn Influencer

– Former President of US Fiduciary and Director of Marketing & Research at RogersCasey

– B.A. in English from Rice University, J.D. from the John Marshall Law School

– Frequent guest on major broadcast networks, including CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg

Show Notes

HighTower raised $165 million in institutional money within the company’s first 2 years of business. How? Elliot shared three reasons including the investors saw the ability to put money to work and take advantage of a big secular shift in the industry.

– “You’re fired.” Elliot fires himself every year and uses the strategy to re-examine, re-tool, and re-start with a fresh perspective unencumbered of past inertia.

 The one metric Elliot tracks extremely carefully is the organic growth of the firm’s advisors. To him, it’s the bellwether and he explained why.

Average revenue growth per advisor hovers around 20 percent per year at HighTower—about twice the industry average. Elliot explained the two main reasons why—one is something the advisors ARE doing and the second is something they’re NOT doing.

– Elliot shared three keys to building a thriving business in the years ahead. The first one was to outsource everything that’s not a differentiating factor for your firm. Listen to the podcast for the other two.

– Where will the disruption occur in the industry over the next 5 to 10 years? Elliot shared some definite thoughts on this.

– Not mincing words, Elliot said, “I think the 50 to 100 million dollar book of business has already lost the fight. If they’re able to sell themselves, they should.”

– Elliot said he thinks the change brought about by robos and other technology will impact the financial industry “much sooner” than most advisors think.

– Five years ago, Elliot told his board, “Silicon Valley is going to fund the disruption of our industry.” Backing that up, he, “Laid out a five page description of how Apple and Google and a few other companies could very easily disrupt our industry.” And it’s happening!

– To stay ahead, HighTower has a “black ops group that looks very far down the road” and they’ve “been deeply focusing on robo solutions.


HighTower (website)


Elliot’s email

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