Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, a NYSE MKT-listed company, is a diversified financial services company with two primary business lines: one is independent brokerage and advisory, and the other is investment banking and capital markets. More specifically, the company is engaged in investment banking, equity research, institutional sales and trading, independent brokerage and advisory services, asset management services and trust services through its principal subsidiaries, Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., Securities America, Investacorp, Inc., Triad Advisors, Inc., Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management Inc. and Premier Trust, Inc. It is based in Miami, Florida.
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services is part of the Russell 3000 Index. Its business model is that of a diversified financial services institution which pairs the recurring revenues of the independent brokerage and advisory businesses with the more volatile, but potentially highly lucrative, capital markets and investment banking business. The Company has over 2,700 financial advisors with approximately $75 billion in client assets.
Ernst Thalmann, an American banker, and Adolph Ladenburg, the scion of a German banking family, founded Ladenburg Thalmann in 1876. In 1879, Ernst Thalmann paid $13,550 (equivalent to $348,000 in 2016) for a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ladenburg Thalmann quickly became one of the most influential private merchant banking firms, a major financial intermediary between America, Great Britain, and the European Continent. It played an important role in financing the growth of American industry—particularly America’s railroads, utilities, and emerging industries—through the early twentieth century and was among the few investment banks to prosper during the Great Depression. It has financed the merger of Mexican Central National Railroad of Mexico, the eletrification of Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro in Brazil, led the syndicate for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey bonds and was the bank Albert Einstein chose to invest 75% of his Nobel Prize money.
In the early part of the 20th century, many notable businessmen joined Ladenburg Thalmann as partners, including Gerson von Bleichröder and Benjamin Seymour Guinness. During World War II, Ladenburg Thalmann bought Deutsche Marks on behalf of the British government.
Ladenburg Thalmann provided banking services for British Security Coordination (BSC) throughout the latter's existence. SOE in London was tasked by HM Treasury in July 1942 as the lead British agency for the acquisition of foreign currency, required in small denominations by members of the plethora of British covert wartime agencies, as well as the escape packs of Allied aircrew. SOE turned to BSC for help with this task; the very close links between BSC and the OSS meant that there was continual collaboration between the two agencies in support of this task. Some of the currencies acquired were seized from ships being searched in the Contraband Control Bases, such as Bermuda, Gibraltar, and Aden, or legitimately bought from legitimate passengers on those ships. Another source were the black markets in Tangiers, Beirut, Istanbul, and elsewhere, by the sale of commodities such as gold, platinum, diamonds, precious stones and Swiss watches. Most of these items, in short supply because of the Allied blockade and restrictions on movement, could be acquired by British government supply departments from within the British Empire using sterling as the purchasing currency.
Virtually every European currency was acquired, as well as South American and Far Eastern currencies; a statement from mid-1944 prepared for Winston Churchill cited the cumulative acquisitions to that date as being 600m French francs, 20m Belgian francs, 8m Dutch guilders, 3.5m Norwegian kroner, 3.5m Danish kroner, 6m Reichsmarks, 8m Spanish pesetas, 16m U.S. dollars, and 0.5m Argentine pesos. Excluding the U.S. dollars and Argentine pesos, the balance had cost the British Treasury around £2m. A major problem that both SOE and BSC had to contend with was the sheer weight and volume of small denomination bank notes; a number of surviving signals in SOE files at National Archives in Kew mention "tons" of bank notes.
There is no doubt that contraband seizures by Allied blockade authorities were 'recycled' to support wartime covert activity. Musson's Smuggling Fleet, which operated from Gibraltar carrying SOE and SIS agents to and from Spanish soil, covered its tracks with a smuggling operation based initially on selling tobacco seized from blockade-running merchant ships. Tobacco was deemed a more useful bribe to badly-paid Spanish border and customs officials, and hundreds of tons were shipped in from Latin America, and North Africa post-TORCH, blended and packaged in Gibraltar, and handed to Musson's operation to maintain the smuggling cover.
Investacorp, Inc., an independent broker-dealer headquartered in Miami, Florida, has been serving the independent registered representative community since 1978 and has approximately 440 independent financial advisors nationwide. The firm was acquired by Ladenburg Thalmann in October 2007.
Triad Advisors, Inc., was acquired by Ladenburg Thalmann in August 2008. The firm was founded in 1993, and is a independent broker-dealer and registered investment advisor headquartered in Norcross, Georgia that offers a broad menu of products, services and total wealth management solutions through approximately 590 independent financial advisors nationwide.
Founded in 2001, Premier Trust, Inc. was acquired by Ladenburg Thalmann in September 2010. It is a Nevada-chartered trust company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, with assets under management of approximately $530 million.
Securities America Inc. was acquired by Ladenburg Thalmann from Ameriprise Financial in November 2011 for $150 million in cash and potential future payments. The firm was founded in 1993 and has headquarters in La Vista, Nebraska. The firm is a SEC-Registered investment advisory firm that offers investment management, financial advice and financial planning through a national network of independent financial advisors. It is the nation's seventh largest independent broker-dealer (as ranked by Financial Planning magazine, June 2011, based on 2010 total revenue). The firm received the inaugural Thought Leadership Award from the Retirement Income Industry Association in March 2011.