Merger Moves Raymond James Up Brokers List

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 17, 2012 12:00 am  

The acquisition of Morgan Keegan & Co. of Memphis by Raymond James of St. Petersburg, Fla., provided the only real excitement on Arkansas Business' annual list of the state's largest broker dealers.

(Arkansas Business features three lists this week as part of our focus on Wealth Management & Retirement Planning. PDFs are free to download while spreadsheet versions of the lists are available for sale.)


The brokerage list, as well as the list of registered investment advisers that Arkansas Business calls "money managers," is perpetually dominated by Stephens Inc. of Little Rock. Warren Stephens' investment bank is the largest brokerage with 345 licensed agents in Arkansas, and Stephens divisions occupy the No. 1 and No. 3 positions among money managers.

On the list of broker dealers, Stephens was followed by Edward Jones, Crews & Associates and Wells Fargo Advisors, the same top four as in recent years. But the combination of Morgan Keegan, a Regions Financial subsidiary that was tied for No. 7 last year, with Raymond James, which was No. 10 when ranked by licensed agents in Arkansas, sent Raymond James to No. 5. Its 90 agents include those associated with units called Raymond James & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services and Raymond James | Morgan Keegan.

The $930 million deal closed in April.

The merged operation has fewer licensed agents than the two parts had when Arkansas Business last surveyed brokerages in September 2011. At that time, Morgan Keegan had 62 agents in Arkansas and Raymond James had 41.

Money Managers
Although there's nowhere to go when a company is already at the top of the list, Stephens Inc. of Little Rock reached a milestone. It had more than $4 billion - $4.17 billion, to be more exact - in assets under management when it filed its latest Form ADV with the Securities & Exchange Commission on June 29.

That represented an increase of 23.5 percent in less than a year. When its last ADV was filed, in August 2011, Stephens Inc. - mostly its Stephens Capital Management division - was managing $3.38 billion.

"We've had a good year and definitely raised some money," Warren Simpson, executive vice president of SCM, said last week. He allowed that "the market probably helped us some" - the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 18 percent during the period between ADV filings.

According to its ADV, Stephens Inc. also provided consulting services on an additional $1.2 billion in assets.

The timing of ADV filings varies, so not all money managers on the list have the same market advantages. No. 2 Foundation Resource Management Inc. of Little Rock, for instance, filed its ADV showing $1.94 billion in assets under management on April 25.



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