SOURCE: Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

July 25, 2011 10:42 ET

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. Opens Office in the Volunteer State

Chattanooga Office Is the Firm's 17th Nationally; Firm Also Hires Morgan Keegan Veteran to Facilitate Texas Branch Development

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2011) - Summer temperatures are scorching parts of the country, and growth is red hot at St. Louis-based brokerage firm Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

Officials at the firm announced today the opening of a branch office in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the hiring of nine financial services professionals to work from the new location. In addition, the firm announced that it had brought aboard a Morgan Keegan veteran with nearly 40 years of financial services experience to assist with the firm's branch development efforts in Texas.

The Chattanooga office is the firm's 17th nationally and its first in Tennessee. The company now has branches in 11 states. Leading the office as Branch Manager and Managing Director - Investments is Joseph Edward (Ward) Petty, a long-time Chattanooga-area financial services professional who founded the local office of A.G. Edwards in 1991 and has been most recently affiliated with Wells Fargo Advisors.

Petty's reputation extends well beyond Chattanooga, having been recognized by Barron's as one of the top 1,000 financial consultants in the country in 2009 and 2010 and included in Registered Representative magazine's list of 10 outstanding investment advisors in 1998.

"We are all excited to be able to introduce our clients and all local investors to the client-first culture for which Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is known," said Petty. "The firm's dedication to providing premiere service and goals-based investment advice combined with its robust selection of investment products and services makes it an ideal fit for our clients. We're thrilled to be a part of this wonderful company."

Accompanying Petty in his move from Wells Fargo Advisors to Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. are the following:

Aon D. Miller, CFP® -- Miller joins as a senior vice president - investments having joined the Chattanooga office of A.G. Edwards in 1998. He earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation from the CFP Board in 2009 and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville with a bachelor's degree in economics. He focuses on individual portfolio management and comprehensive investment and retirement planning. He is also a member of the Estate Planning Council of Chattanooga.

Joe Donnovin, Jr. -- With a multifaceted career that includes service as first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and the 6th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and a senior management role in the textile industry, Donnovin began his financial services career in 1980 with Alex Brown & Sons. He joined A.G. Edwards in 1993 and now comes on board at Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. as a vice president - investments.

Also active in the Chattanooga community, Donnovin is a board member for the Chattanooga State Community College Foundation and is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club. He is also a vice moderator of the Session at the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. A graduate of the University of Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in English literature, Donnovin is married with two children and three grandchildren.

Joe Pollak -- A veteran of the financial services industry for nearly 23 years, Pollak has spent the last 13 years at A.G. Edwards (now Wells Fargo Advisors). He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga with degrees in finance and economics and comes aboard at Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. as a financial consultant.

Joseph H. (Joe) Petty -- The father of Branch Manager Ward Petty, Joe Petty was formerly managing partner and president of Petty & Landis, LLC, from 1964 through 1996. From 1996 until 2010, Joe worked with Ward at A.G. Edwards and its succeeding entities as an assistant branch manager and financial consultant.

Scott K. Sholl -- An honors graduate of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville in 2008, Scott joins Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. as a financial consultant and will assist Ward Petty with his client management responsibilities.

Laura G. Owsley -- Working with Aon Miller, Owsley joined the Chattanooga office of Wells Fargo Advisors in 2009 after a nine-year career at Merrill-Lynch. She is a graduate of Covenant College with a degree in organizational management. Her professional practice focuses on helping clients develop a disciplined wealth management process.

Rounding out the office are Tammy Vona, who will hold the title of senior registered financial associate and assist Ward Petty and Scott Sholl with their client service responsibilities, and Susan Gerschefski, who comes aboard as an operations specialist and a financial associate working with Joe Donnovin, Jr.

"This is a highly-talented team of financial professionals who have decades of experience and -- most importantly -- value our client-first approach," said Benjamin F. (Tad) Edwards IV, chairman, CEO, and president of Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. "Their outstanding track record of client service will be a tremendous asset for us as we introduce our special high-touch business model to investors in the Chattanooga area."

With the new Chattanooga office, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. has increased its financial consultant head count by a total of 20 since the beginning of the year, bringing the current total to 69. Edwards attributes the success to a growing awareness that Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is committed to sustaining and nurturing personal relationships -- with clients and its own financial consultants.

"At Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., our mission is to not only give our clients unparalleled service, but to also provide our financial consultants with the personalized attention and support they need to help their clients," Edwards said. "Given their own deep experience within the financial services industry, our Home Office staff understands the business and what it takes to deliver on our client-first pledge."

Lone Star Addition and Texas Branch Development
In addition to opening the office in Chattanooga, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is adding to its efforts in the Texas market to explore branch opportunities with the hiring of Morgan Keegan veteran Rodney P. Gray. Before joining Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., Gray spent seven years at Morgan Keegan recruiting and opening offices in Texas as the senior vice president, assistant regional manager and regional sales manager for that firm's southwest region.

Gray began his 38-year career in banking and then moved to Kidder Peabody and Company. Later he worked in branch management positions for Shearson Haydon Stone, RBC Dain Rauscher, and Morgan Keegan in several Texas locations, including Amarillo, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, and Ft. Worth.

Gray reports to Roger A. Buller, senior vice president, regional manager and Wichita branch manager, for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., who oversees branch development efforts in the southwestern and mid-central United States. Gray joins Kent Mitchell who serves in a similar capacity in the Houston market.

"Rodney's deep roots in Texas will allow us to cover a lot of ground in this key state," said Buller. "He appreciates our special culture and is excited to be telling our story to prospective financial consultants."

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. The firm was founded in 2008 by Benjamin F. (Tad) Edwards IV, the great-great-grandson of Albert Gallatin Edwards, the founder of brokerage firm A.G. Edwards. The company employs 178 people company-wide and now has 17 branch offices in 11 states. In addition to Chattanooga, the company has branch offices in Danbury and Hamden, Conn.; St. Louis and Springfield, Mo.; Highlands, N.C.; White Plains, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga.; Bluefield, Va.; Madison, Wis.; Mentor, Ohio; Wichita, Kan.; and Peoria, Springfield, Decatur, Galesburg and Wheaton, Ill.

A subsidiary of Benjamin Edwards, Inc., Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. is a full-service brokerage and a Registered Investment Adviser, which offers 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

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