"Investment Services Since 1890", "Advisor of Choice, Firm of Choice, Investment of Choice."
Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF) is a financial services holding company created in July 1983 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange on November 24, 1986. Its predecessor company was founded in 1890 as the Altheimer and Rawlings Investment Company and is headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
Stifel offers securities-related financial services in the United States and Europe through several wholly owned subsidiaries. Its clients are served through Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel Nicolaus) in the U.S., a full-service retail and institutional brokerage and investment banking firm, through Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. in Canada, and through Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (SNEL) in the United Kingdom and Europe. Its other subsidiaries include Thomas Weisel Partners LLC (TWP), Century Securities Associates, Inc. (CSA), an independent contractor broker-dealer firm, and Stifel Bank & Trust, a retail and commercial bank. The company's broker-dealer affiliates provide securities brokerage, trading, investment banking, investment advisory, and related financial services to individual investors, professional money managers, businesses, and municipalities. Stifel Bank & Trust offers a full range of consumer and commercial lending solutions. Stifel Trust Company, N.A. offers trust and related services.
On December 1, 2005, Stifel Financial closed on the acquisition of the Legg Mason Capital Markets business (LM Capital Markets) from Citigroup Inc. The LM Capital Markets business acquired included investment banking, equity and fixed income research, equity sales and trading, and taxable fixed income sales and trading (22 offices in the US and Europe and 500 associates). These assets gave the company substantial research and capital market capabilities and transformed the company from a regional firm to a national one.
In 2006, the company acquired the Private Client Group of Minneapolis-based Miller Johnson Steichen Kinnard, Inc. (MJSK) (7 offices and 50 financial advisors).
In 2007, the company completed the acquisition of Ryan Beck & Co. from BankAtlantic Bancorp (43 offices in 14 states and 1,100 associates). The acquisition significantly increased the company's presence in the East coast. The firm also opened several Private Client Group offices in the state of California and branched out across the entire West coast. During the same year, the company completed the acquisition of First Service Financial Company, and its wholly owned subsidiary, FirstService Bank, a St. Louis-headquartered, Missouri chartered bank. As a result of the transaction, the company became a bank holding company and a financial holding company.
In 2008, the company completed its $12 million acquisition of Butler Wick & Company, Inc. from United Community Financial Corp. Butler Wick, a Youngstown, Ohio-based provider of financial advisory services, had offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York (23 offices in three states and 175 associates).
In 2009, the company acquired 56 branches from the UBS Wealth Management Americas (UBS) branch network (56 offices in 24 states and 500 associates).
In 2010, the company completed its acquisition of Thomas Weisel Partners Group, Inc and created an enterprise with one of the largest U.S. equity research platforms and expanded institution equity business both domestically and internationally.
In 2011, the company announced an agreement to acquire Stone & Youngberg LLC, a financial firm specializing in municipal finance and fixed income securities.
In 2012, the company and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) announced a strategic merger. During the same year, the company expanded its investment banking capabilities and restructuring advisory expertise by acquiring Miller Buckfire.
In 2014, the company was set to acquire the London stockbroker Oriel Securities.
In June 2015, the group announced it would acquire Barclays US wealth and investment management unit for an undisclosed fee.
As of 2012, Stifel Financial employed over 5,000 associates in over 330 global locations.
Stifel Financial Corp. operates in three segments: Global Wealth Management, Institutional Group, and Other.
The company's Global Wealth Management segment offers securities transaction, brokerage, and investment services, including equity securities; fixed income securities, which comprise municipal, corporate, and government agency securities; preferred stocks; and unit investment trusts. This segment also provides managed fee-based products; and insurance and annuity products, as well as securities-based lending services. In addition, it offers retail and commercial banking services to private and corporate clients, including personal loan programs, such as fixed and variable mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit, personal loans, loans secured by certificates of deposit or savings, and securities-based loans; and commercial lending programs, such as small business loans, commercial real estate loans, lines of credit, credit cards, term loans, and inventory and receivables financing. As of December 31, 2011, this segment operated a network of 1,833 financial advisors located in 291 branch offices in 44 states and the District of Columbia; and 154 independent contractors.
Its Institutional Group segment offers research, equity, and fixed income institutional sales and trading, investment banking, public finance, and syndicate services. This segment distributes equity research products to institutional investors; provides financial advisory services principally with respect to mergers and acquisitions, and the execution of public offerings and private placements of debt and equity securities; and coordinates marketing, distribution, pricing, and stabilization of managed equity and debt offerings. It serves individual investors, corporations, municipalities, and institutions.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stifel Nicolaus on August 10, 2011, claiming the firm duped five Wisconsin school districts into buying $200 million in "unsuitable" securities tied to collateralized debt obligations. The investments, which the school districts had purchased in 2006 with $163 million in borrowed funds and $37 million of their own money, were "far more risky" than Stifel Nicolaus advertised to the school districts, the S.E.C. alleged, and the firm hid the risks “through a series of falsehoods and misrepresentations." The school districts' credit ratings were lowered and they lost their investments, which were intended to fund school employees' retirement benefits. Stifel Nicolaus said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed by the misplaced action” and that it would “vigorously defend” its behavior in the transactions. The S.E.C. said the firm had claimed that the investments were so safe that it would take "15 Enrons" or some other unexpected catastrophe for the investments to fail, but the first increment of securities did badly and credit agencies issued a "negative watch" on part of the portfolio within days of its closing. On March 19, 2012, it was announced that a settlement had been reached with the school districts to jointly pursue a $200 million lawsuit against Royal Bank of Canada, alleging that they are liable for the original misrepresentation. Royal Bank of Canada had already settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September 2011 for $30.4 million. As of December 2013, Stifel was still pursuing RBC.