Bob Oros is Chairman and CEO of Hightower Advisors, a national wealth management firm focusing on empowered investing for independent-minded financial advisory businesses to drive growth and help clients achieve what they call “Well-th Rebalanced.” With more than 25 years of experience, Bob spent the bulk of his RIA career at the large custodians, such as Schwab and Fidelity, recruiting, retaining, and supporting advisors. Since joining Hightower in 2019, the company has completed a number of acquisitions of high-profile independent wealth management firms, expanded its operational and business acceleration services for advisors, and achieved consistently strong organic growth.
In addition to his position at Hightower Advisors, Bob is involved with, and a part of, several social improvement organizations. He sits on several boards, including The Chicago Mental Health Association and EEqual, a not-for-profit focused on providing opportunities for students who are battling homelessness. He is passionate about the cause of financial literacy, and speaks to student groups, as well as contributes frequently to panels and thought leadership pieces.
In his adolescence, Bob had no superhero ambitions, however he definitely had no issue working hard for what he wanted. A self-denominated “hustler” as a child, Bob would wake up at 5:30 AM to work a multitude of odd jobs around his neighborhood, including lawn-mowing and paper routes. Clearly his entrepreneurial mindset began at an early age.
THE EVOLUTION OF HIGHTOWER
Back in 2008 -- at Hightower’s founding -- the company was a revolutionary idea. Long before Bob came into Hightower, back when they were not in the M&A business, I had the pleasure of coming in and doing a full day’s white-boarding session with the executives at the time to check the landscape of entering the business of M&A.
Once Hightower entered the acquisition market, my firm was involved in some of their early deals from the sell side, representing several of their affiliated advisors in the sales of their businesses to Hightower. It has surely been interesting and a real pleasure to see where Bob has taken Hightower. Under Bob’s leadership, Hightower has made an impressive 35+ deals.
Part of what makes the 15-year-old company so stable is Bob’s belief in flowing with the tides and evolution. The RIA world is still relatively in its infancy, so it’s going to be ever-changing. Bob’s commitment to keeping Hightower relevant and evolving supports Hightower’s growth prospects for long into the future.
HIGHTOWER’S DEAL TEAMS
In 2016, Hightower completed its first successful deal. While Bob was not a part of Hightower at that time, it’s still a very important moment in the Hightower history books, but getting to the point of making 15+ deals a year with 3 deal teams is no simple feat. It takes clever strategy, experience, and operating deliberately. Bob impresses the serious nature of the industry and urges buyers and sellers alike to not take it lightly. In fact, if you’re not prepared with not only enough capital, but the right know-how, it’s very easy to do a lot of damage.
For Hightower, taking the industry seriously has allowed the company to:
Divide into multiple distinct deal teams, led by a deal-lead
Have many analysts supporting the distinct deal teams
Have an internal sourcing team, allowing up to 50% of their volume to be created internally
Have a team making outbound reachouts
Bob also stresses the importance of being purposeful in the direction you choose. Dealmaking is not something everyone can, or should, do. If you’re going to get into the industry, you take on an obligation to become educated and diligent in your deals.
The source of capital a firm has is one of the most important factors to stability and growth. If your capital source is weak, your business will be weak, ultimately making your deal