SOURCE: Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

financial services, brokerage, brokerage service, investment advice, money management

September 24, 2010 11:55 ET

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. Opens First Branch Office in St. Louis and Moves Headquarters

Long-Time St. Louis Financial Consultant Blake Dunlop Joins as Managing Director, Branch and Regional Manager

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - September 24, 2010) -  Just 13 months ago, brokerage firm Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. (www.benjaminfedwards.com) was preparing to open its first branch. Today, the firm opened its 11th office in the country and its first in St. Louis, bringing aboard three industry professionals with nearly 60 years of combined industry experience. 

Anchoring the new St. Louis location as managing director - investments, branch and regional manager, and a member of the Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. board of directors is Blake R. Dunlop, a 27-year financial services veteran and a former professional hockey player with the St. Louis Blues. In addition to overseeing the new branch and serving his clients, Dunlop will help develop the firm's branch network as a regional manager for St. Louis and the surrounding communities. 

Before joining Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., Blake Dunlop served for 22 years as a branch manager for A.G. Edwards (now Wells Fargo Advisors) -- seven years at the firm's Frontenac location and 15 years in Clayton. During his leadership of the A.G. Edwards Clayton location, the branch was consistently one of the top five of highest-producing offices out of the firm's network of more than 700. During the same period, employment at the branch also increased from 20 industry professionals to 44 at its peak. 

Also joining the firm are Dunlop's son, Connor P. Dunlop, who comes aboard as a financial consultant, and Christine J. Boxdorfer, who joins as a senior registered financial associate. Both started their financial services careers at A.G. Edwards, five- and 25-years ago, respectively. 

Connor joined A.G. Edwards after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Notre Dame. Upon graduation, he returned to St. Louis and successfully completed the firm's financial consultant training program, where he earned his Accredited Asset Management Specialist™ (AAMS®) designation from the College for Financial Planning®. When his training period ended, he began working at the company's branch in San Diego and returned to St. Louis six months ago to join his father. 

Boxdorfer has worked with Blake Dunlop for 10 years and also earned her Accredited Asset Management Specialist™ (AAMS®) designation from the College for Financial Planning®. She will assist both Dunlops with their client service responsibilities. 

"At Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. we have the opportunity to not only work together as a team, but to do so at a firm that gives us access to the sophisticated financial services tools and resources that our clients need," said Blake Dunlop. "As important, is the fact that everyone at Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. understands and appreciates the importance of client service -- this firm is enjoying solid reviews from clients and other financial consultants. We are all thrilled to be a part of it."

Opening a St. Louis branch was a step that Benjamin F. (Tad) Edwards IV, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., weighed carefully.

"As our flagship market, we wanted to make sure we opened in St. Louis with individuals who offered the right combination of experience, leadership, and commitment to our client-first philosophy, and we have found all of that and more in Blake Dunlop and his solid team," said Edwards. "In addition, as a member of our brokerage subsidiary's board of directors and a regional manager, Blake will be a valued resource to enhance our branch system and corporate development efforts."

Home Office Expansion
The new branch is located on the ground floor of space located at One North Brentwood Boulevard. The firm's Home Office will move next weekend to its new quarters on the eighth floor of the same building. 

At its new location, the Home Office will occupy more than 15,200 square feet, representing a 42 percent increase in its real estate footprint. The new quarters will comfortably accommodate the Home Office employee growth which has increased from 28 a year ago to nearly 50 today. Currently, the company employs 116 firm-wide -- including the St. Louis branch. 

A commitment to clients that extends through generations
Working in a brokerage firm that strives to put clients first is not something new for Tad Edwards. He worked at A.G. Edwards for 30 years and is the great-great-grandson of that company's founder, and the son of Benjamin F. Edwards III, its longtime chief executive officer known for his client friendly business approach. 

Tad started Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. in 2008, a year after the firm bearing his family name was acquired by Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Advisors). He named the new company after his father, Ben. 

Surprisingly, Tad does not mention profit margins, revenue projections, or growth targets when discussing Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. Instead, he points to the guiding principles of the Golden Rule and the importance of creating a corporate culture based on mutual respect, trust, and even having fun.

"I firmly believe that if we strive to put our clients first and then look after our employees and our shareholders, everything else takes care of itself," Edwards said. "When our clients are happy and our employees are certain of their mission, the shareholders will benefit."

Growth Prospects
Just as it has over the past year, the firm will continue to grow prudently, adding branches and financial consultants when the "economics" of a location make sense and the cultural "fit" of the personnel feels right, Edwards added. 

"We need to consider very carefully the leadership and talent involved in a new location and ensure that each candidate shares our commitment to client service and embraces our corporate ideals of trust, integrity, and mutual respect," said Edwards. "We are working together to build something very special and we need to make sure we protect the culture of our organization." 

Tapping an industry leader: Pershing LLC
Helping the firm stay focused on attracting talent and providing superior client service is the fact that it outsources most of its technology support and relies on Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon Company, for back office and trade processing support. A financial services leader with over 70 years of experience and more than $770 billion in client assets held in custody, Pershing also offers a comprehensive suite of investment solutions and services, including access to a broad selection of mutual funds and support for advisory programs. BNY Mellon is the world's leading provider of securities services and a top, global asset management firm, with over $21.8 trillion of assets in custody and $1.0 trillion in assets under management.

"Thanks to our reliance on Pershing and outside technology providers, we are able to have the scale necessary to bring additional locations on board, while also enabling our Home Office team to focus on attracting new talent and helping our financial consultants serve their existing clients," said Edwards. 

SIPC and supplemental coverage available
Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities customers of its members up to $500,000 (including $100,000 for claims for cash). An explanatory brochure is available upon request or at www.sipc.org. Pershing also provides additional coverage for eligible securities.

About Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.
With a tagline of "Investments for Generations" and a company logo anchored by the Edwards family crest, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. In addition to the new St. Louis branch, the firm has four locations in Illinois located in Decatur, Peoria, Springfield, and Wheaton; other branches are located in Springfield, Mo., White Plains, N.Y., Bluefield, Va., Madison, Wis., Hamden, Conn., and Atlanta, Ga. A subsidiary of Benjamin Edwards, Inc., Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is a full-service brokerage and a Registered Investment Adviser offering a wide-array of financial products and advisory services to its clients and financial consultants. For more information about Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., please visit www.benjaminfedwards.com

About Pershing LLC
Pershing LLC (member FINRA/NYSE/SIPC) is a leading global provider of financial business solutions to more than 1,150 institutional and retail financial organizations and independent registered investment advisors who collectively represent approximately five million active investors. Located in 21 offices worldwide, Pershing and its affiliates are committed to delivering dependable operational support, robust trading services, flexible technology, an expansive array of investment solutions, practice management support and service excellence. Pershing is a member of every major U.S. securities exchange and its international affiliates are members of the Deutsche Börse, the Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Pershing LLC is a BNY Mellon company. Additional information is available at www.pershing.com.

Contact Information

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