A Merrill Lynch adviser who managed $315 million in client assets was lured away by fast-growing aggregator HighTower, the firm said.

Denver Gilliand signed on with HighTower to launch an office in Minneapolis. "When I did my due diligence process, I was really looking at what would be the best structure for the clients now and in the future," Gilliand says, citing HighTower's fiduciary business model as a key factor in the move, as well as its open-architecture and lack of proprietary products.

Quote
"When I did my due diligence process, I was really looking at what would be the best structure for the clients now and in the future," former Merrill Lynch adviser Denver Gilliand says.

Another inducement was the opportunity to join as a partner, he says.

In leaving the wirehouse, the former senior vice president in Merrill's private banking and investment group launched DSG Wealth Management. The name will be cobranded alongside HighTower's, he says.

DSG includes two other team members, Kayleen Schultz, a senior client wealth associate, and client wealth associate, Kari Jadwin.

The firm serves 35 clients, mainly those with $5 million to $10 million to invest, Gilliand says.

While he had served as a fiduciary at Merrill overseeing clients' trust assets, he says he's glad he's no longer working for a company that makes proprietary products.

Going forward, Gilliand hopes HighTower will help him build his HNW offerings.

"One of the things that I've focused on is really serving for some families as a multi-family office," he says.

To that end, his practice provides advisory services for trust and estate planning, customized credit and lending, luxury goods acquisition and philanthropy, he says.

“Elite advisor teams that join HighTower gain the autonomy of an independent practice," Michael Parker, HighTower chief development officer, said in a statement, "without sacrificing the sophistication, support and infrastructure of a large firm —whether they transition from a wirehouse environment or they are already independent."