Simmons, Stephens Dominates Trio of Money Lists

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 21, 2009 12:00 am  

Community First Trust, which Kerst helped found in 1998, is the state's only active non-bank trust company - a status that he said had sometimes made the business hard to explain.

It is regulated by the Arkansas State Bank Department, which also lists one other non-bank trust company among its charges: FirsTrust Financial Services Inc., which is owned by publicly traded Home BancShares Inc. of Conway.

However, in 2007, FirsTrust entered an agency agreement that essentially hired Community First to manage all of its trust assets, which were just under $300 million as of Dec. 31. For the purposes of the ranking, Arkansas Business included FirsTrust's assets with those of Community First Trust, placing it at No. 6.

Broker Dealers
Stephens Inc. of Little Rock remained the top broker dealer in the state with 327 registered reps in Arkansas, the yardstick by which the annual list of broker dealers is measured.

A tumultuous year on Wall Street succeeded in shaking up the rest of the list - particularly the merger of Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney on June 1. (There was a shakeup in the local management, too. For more on that, see "Whispers" on Page 3.)

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney combined Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management Group of New York with Citigroup Global Markets Smith Barney of New York.

In November, Morgan Stanley had 50 registered representatives in four Arkansas cities, and Smith Barney had 60 in seven cities in the state.

As of last week, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney had 72 registered reps in six cities in Arkansas.

Wells Fargo & Co. of San Francisco also completed its merger with Wachovia Corp. of St. Louis on Dec. 31, and now operates the broker dealer division under the name Wells Fargo Advisors. (In 2007, Wachovia had acquired A.G. Edwards Inc. of St. Louis and the companies merged in 2008.) The company did not respond by deadline to repeated requests for a current count of registered representatives in Arkansas, so Wachovia's count from November 2008 was used to rank Wells Fargo at No. 2.

Other changes on the list include the addition of Raymond James Financial Services Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla. With 10 registered representatives, Raymond James landed 16th place among the broker dealers.

Other firms also have added registered representatives since November, which is the last time Arkansas Business published its list. Crews & Associates of Little Rock grew from 120 registered stockbrokers in November to 149 as of last week.

Stern Agee & Leach of Birmingham, Ala., also increased its number of stockbrokers from 23 in November to 32 last week.



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