Merger Moves Raymond James Up Brokers List

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.)

LISTS:

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.

The list of money managers on Pages 21-23 indicates the ADV filing date for each company; one was as long ago as January, the most recent was filed Aug. 28.

Even Stephens files ADVs at different times. Stephens Investment Management Group, the mutual fund division of Stephens Capital Management that ranks No. 3 on the list, filed its report in March. At that time, it had assets under management of $933.2 million, but Simpson indicated that it had grown since then.

Double-digit growth in assets under management is not uncommon on the list. No. 4 Arvest Asset Management reported $793.5 million in March 2012, up more than 11 percent since July 2011. Forest Hill Capital LLC, No. 5 last year and this, crossed the half-billion-dollar mark; its $533.2 million under management was an increase of almost 16 percent between March 2011 and March 2012.

Trust Departments
This week Arkansas Business also ranks the state's 44 trust departments (Pages 24-26) by total trust assets as of Dec. 31, 2011, as reported to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The three top positions are held by Simmons First Trust Co. of Pine Bluff, a subsidiary of Simmons First National Corp.; Arvest Trust Co. of Rogers, part of the Arvest Bank Group of Bentonville; and Bank of the Ozarks of Little Rock.

Metropolitan National Bank and First National Bank of Fort Smith, Nos. 4 and 5 last year, have switched places, although both suffered double-digit declines in trust assets during calendar 2011.

Although it bumped up only one spot, to No. 7, Delta Bank & Trust enjoyed growth of nearly 65 percent in its trust assets.