HighTower Releases Enhanced Host Platform: Built By Advisors For Advisors

Industry-First Platform Expansion and Ongoing Integration Led By Chief Information Officer, Doug Besso

May 23, 2012, 10:00 ET from HighTower

CHICAGO, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- HighTower, the first advisor-owned national financial services company serving wealthy families and institutional clients, announced today the expansion of the financial industry's first comprehensive technology solution providing direct access to multiple custodians and clearing firms, best-in-class tools, and an unconflicted expanse of investment products.

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The HighTower Open Source Technology (HOST) platform delivers access to industry-leading investment products, tools, research and service providers, while aligning with HighTower's open-source financial services business model. The HOST platform empowers HighTower's advisors to do business free of the conflicts of interest found at many of the wirehouses by fostering competition on pricing, products, and services offered by the industry's leading brokerage firms, custodians, and vendors. The HOST platform provides HighTower advisors with comprehensive access to capital markets, insurance, lending, traditional and alternative investment products on a single platform.

"HighTower's HOST platform is the natural extension of our business model in that it is built by advisors for advisors. Our commitment to an open-source business model requires each of the firms compete for our clients' business," said Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of HighTower. "We didn't build the HOST platform simply to compete with other platforms, but rather set out to create a completely unique platform based on the expertise and input of more than 100 advisors from every major Wall Street firm."

The HOST platform is fully customized, and built upon the needs of advisors. HOST incorporates a variety of powerful features from key strategic and best-in-class providers, including Fidelity, Schwab, Pershing, J.P. Morgan, RBC Global, Envestnet, CAIS, Altegris, Black Diamond, and Mercer, among many others.

"What makes the HOST platform completely different is that other multi-custodial platforms are reliant upon a third-party broker-dealer, which is typically captive to a single clearing firm," said Mike LaMena, HighTower's Chief Operating Officer. "We eliminated the traditional structural conflict created by introducing broker-dealer by integrating our broker-dealer into our platform so that our advisors can access several clearing firms in addition to the major custodians."

Leading the implementation and expansion of the HOST platform is HighTower's Chief Information Officer, Doug Besso. Mr. Besso has more than 25 years of financial technology experience with Calamos Investments and Wachovia, where he developed many of the industry's leading technologies and platforms.

Mr. Besso will ensure the HOST platform remains at the forefront of financial industry technology, meeting the needs of the firm's advisor partners and clients.

"HighTower has taken a truly innovative approach.  We did the nearly impossible first, which was to create a unique business model that fully integrating an RIA and broker-dealer, then negotiating enterprise agreements with several major custody and clearing firms," said Mr. Besso "Once advisors began using these systems, HighTower organically refined and continues to refine our platform to meet the needs of our advisors and our clients."

For media inquiries, please contact Nicole Abbott at 973-850-7315 or nabbott@jcprinc.com.

About HighTower

HighTower is a national, advisor-owned financial services company serving high-net-worth and institutional clients. HighTower advisors are experienced investment professionals with large and established practices. As a dually-registered, multi-custodial firm, HighTower provides sophisticated investment solutions as well as an independent and unobstructed view of the markets. The company is headquartered in Chicago and maintains corporate centers in New York and San Francisco and offices around the country. See www.hightoweradvisors.com.

Nicole Abbott




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