by Mark Scheinbaum
Santa Fe, N.M.
December 11, 2010
FOR MADOFF'S SON, WAS DEATH THE LAST REFUGE OF INNOCENCE?
NEW YORK, N.Y., Dec. 9, 2010 -- A Wall Street name known and respected for more than a century until the crippling subprime bust will live on, the owner of a Florida stock brokerage house that acquired the name vowed today.
The legendary "Shearson" name, which for decades on Wall Street was America's second largest brokerage firm, dates back to 1902, and was once part of Shearson Lehman, which went under in late Sept., 2008.
The name was last used in Smith Barney Shearson, which dropped it in 1994. Now the Shearson name will be resurrected with its acquisition Thursday by LF-Financial, LLC, of Boca Raton, Fla., the American Reporter has learned.
The buyer, LF-Financial, is a well-known South Florida investment and stock brokerage house.
"These days the overwhelming majority of investment professionals who deal with clients and institutions with integrity and respect," said Jed Kaplan, founder and CEO of LF-Financial, "can use a reminder of the people and great firms which built America long before the headlines of scandal and bankruptcies."
The firm was named for named for Edward Shearson and the firm he founded in 1902, Shearson Hammill & Co. The name would become part of many well-known American financial institutions over the next 80 years, including Shearson / American Express, Shearson Lehman / American Express, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Shearson Lehman Hutton and finally Smith Barney Shearson.
"The firm operated independently and merged with a number of Wall Street's most venerable securities firms including Hayden Stone & Co. and Loeb Rhoades & Co.. In 1981, Shearson was acquired by American Express and operated as a subsidiary of the financial services company before being merged with Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb in 1984 and E.F. Hutton & Co. in 1988," a Wikipedia entry for the firm says.
"In 1993, Shearson was sold to Primerica, the predecessor of Citigroup, and merged with its retail brokerage business, Smith Barney to create Smith Barney Shearson. The Shearson name was discontinued in 1994," the website said.
Kaplan did not disclose the legal or financial terms of the deal, but noted, "The Shearson name does not deserve to die." Kaplan said.
"Tens of thousands of men and women whose careers were never subjected to on e thing negative - who financed municipal bond projects for America's highways and universities, who allowed many of our parents and grandparents to retire in financial comfort and dignity - deserve more than a name which is just a sad footnote to the financial meltdowns of the last decade," he said.
Pending regulatory approval, LF-Financial will continue under its own name, and hopes to eventually incorporate the Shearson name and logo into its corporate identity.
LF-Financial is headquartered in the Bank of America Building on W. Palmetto Park Rd. in Boca Raton. It is a member of the financial industry association FINRA, SIPC and MSRB, and a former member firm of the Boston Stock Exchange.