Hightower National Trust Company is officially open for business following federal approval by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on April 8, the company announced.
Headquartered in Houston with offices in Chicago and Delaware, Hightower National Trust Company will provide in-house trust services to advisors nationwide who are affiliated with parent company Hightower, an independent registered investment advisor (RIA) based in Chicago.
Hightower National Trust will offer a traditional mix of personal trust investment management, custody, and safekeeping products to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, including discretionary investment management services for managed accounts and non-managed accounts; custody and escrow services; and agency services such as administrative support to other fiduciaries, principals of partnerships, limited liability companies; and other legal entities, the news release said.
“The trust company’s extensive range of trust administration, record-keeping and tax-reporting services deepens our existing suite of value-added capabilities,” Hightower Chairman and CEO Bob Oros said in a prepared statement. "As an ‘in-house’ resource, Hightower advisors can easily leverage these sophisticated services for their clients and their families, enhancing and cementing client relationships now and for generations to come.”
The company said that the launch of the Hightower National Trust Company, which plans to open additional offices in Nevada and South Dakota later this year, is part of Hightower’s broader strategy of offering its advisory businesses streamlined access to intimate, coordinated and institutional-class family-office services and expertise for their affluent clients.
A key client service offering of the trust company will be its Business Owner Succession Services (BOSS), designed for entrepreneur and business-owner clients whose companies are undergoing a merger, acquisition, sale or capital raise. Hightower said it can now provide in-house valuations, investment banking resources, private liquidity and support with managing concentrated stock holdings, among other services.
Through a strategic investment in Grant Tani Barash & Altman, a Los Angeles-based business management firm, Hightower will also be able to provide affluent clients with personal chief financial officer services, including bookkeeping and accounting; bill payment, tax preparation, and other concierge financial management capabilities. In the coming months, Hightower advisors will gain direct and streamlined access to these services, the company said.
“Most advisors wth affluent clients often have no choice but to refer them to a third-party trust company,” Oros said in an email. “However, that means the client is often dealing with two unrelated trust companies for their trust administration and investment needs.”
Oros said that Hightower chose to form a national trust company so it could provide its advisors with in-house capabilities they could offer their clients.
“This gives them a deeper connection with the professionals who handle trust and estate matters for their clients,” he said in the email. “Hightower’s trust company not only ensures continuity and stability for clients, it makes for a more holistic offering by our advisors. We’re very excited that Hightower advisors can now provide their clients across the country with investment advisory, trust administration, record keeping, and tax reporting that can reach across generations.”
Oros said that Hightower clients will pay a fee for the firm’s trust services comparable to those charged by industry third parties.
“The price is not what will drive usage of Hightower National Trust Company,” he said in the email. “It’s the capability of (Hightower) advisors to have a single resource for business services, including multifamily generational wealth services.”
“The trust company is a resource for advisors and their clients,” he said in the email. “Some may feel that utilizing our own trust company will give them broader access to solutions that serve their clients, enabling them to feel confident that their clients and their families will be in good hands for many years to come.”
As of December 31, Hightower reported assets under administration (AUA) of about $144 billion and assets under management (AUM) of $117.8 billion.