bfec_03.png

From left are Kortney Christensen of business owner services, with investment bankers Doug Rubenstein, Kevin Sullivan and Shelby Schagrin.

In 2008, as the United States was in the depths of the Great Recession, a financial services firm rose from the ashes. Seeing that financial institutions were overlooking the most important aspect of their businesses – clients and financial advisers – Tad Edwards started Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

The St. Louis-based firm has a 130-year family legacy behind it, dating back to the late 1800s. When Edwards founded his firm, his vision was to establish a place where clients were put first.

“[The firm] is a family,” he says. “Every decision we make, we ask ourselves how it’s going to affect our clients. It’s not about us – it’s about how we can help accomplish their goals and dreams.”

Benjamin F. Edwards is a privately owned company that has grown exponentially since its founding. The firm now has 63 branches in 26 states.

“We have assembled a phenomenal team of like-minded people who share the same values and vision,” Edwards says. “From the start, we knew it was essential that we be equipped to serve the needs of all investors – from those just starting out to those with sophisticated needs and challenges, like business owners.”

Edwards and his team were true to their vision. Today, the company has a product and service platform able to handle investment needs from the basic to the complex.

Offering Business Owners Strategic Alternatives

Doug Rubenstein, executive vice president, chief operating officer and director of capital markets, also works on the investment banking side of Benjamin F. Edwards. The investment banking group helps small- and middle-market companies and their owners evaluate strategic alternatives, including mergers, acquisitions and even the sale of the company.

“Our process is about being patient, thoughtful and understanding the mindset of the business owner,” Rubenstein says. “In the event that a company decides that they want to sell, our job is to find the optimal buyer and get them to the finish line for a successful transaction.”

Rubenstein says in most situations, the sale of a business is the single biggest transaction of a business-owning client’s lifetime, and it’s something that needs to be handled delicately and professionally. “We’re happy to sit with our clients early, when they’re just beginning to think about alternatives,” he says. “In fact, as you start your business, you should be thinking about what your exit will be, whether it’s selling or passing it on to heirs. We’re here to help manage the entire transaction.”

Executive Services: It’s More Than Investment Banking

Before a client is ready to sell that business, people at Benjamin F. Edwards like Kortney Christensen, executive vice president and director of sales and marketing, are available to help business owners. Among her responsibilities, Christensen oversees the firm’s executive and business owner services area.

Christensen says Benjamin F. Edwards has built a team of experts with decades of experience on matters important to business owners, including people who have worked for years in executive compensation, corporate retirement plans, insurance – including “key man” – and estate planning.

“We are in a position to help business owners with whatever their needs are,” she says. “We take a tailored approach to each situation. These aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. We work with business owners as their businesses evolve, whether they have short- or long-term planning needs.”

Edwards concurs, noting that the company’s different areas of expertise help clients of all kinds achieve their business goals.

“We not only have a very experienced investment banking team, but we have what [Christensen] has: A higher net worth client and executive services team. All of these people involved add value to our clients and their adviser,” he says.

Exciting Future

The future of Benjamin F. Edwards is bright. Edwards says he and his team are continually working to preserve the decades-long tradition of mutual trust and respect the company is built on.

“We’re a very forward-looking firm,” he says. “We have the opportunity of a lifetime here to continue a legacy that has stood the test of time and deliver meaningful and informed advice and service to our clients.”

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., 1 North Brentwood Blvd., Suite 850, St. Louis, 855-382-1600, benjaminfedwards.com

Robyn is LN's digital editor and a staff writer. Proud alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis and Eastern Illinois University. Avid coffee drinker, dog lover, concertgoer and word nerd.

More On-the-cover articles.