Investment firm continues to see growth based on relationships

Larry Watts, CFP, CPM is the senior vice president and branch manager of Stifel’s Stockton office.

STOCKTON — Larry Watts has made a career based on relationships.

Business based on relationships is what drew Watts, a Branch Manager and Senior Vice President/Investments, to Stifel (pronounced stee-ful), a full-service wealth management and investment banking firm.

The Stockton office has been opened since May of last year. Watts came to work for Stifel because its approach was like those he’d worked for in his previous 33 years in the financial services world.

After having worked for AG Edwards and others, Watts was looking for a company with similar values, and he wanted to be with a financial services firm, not a commercial bank. He’d known about Stifel, which, like AG Edwards, is based in St. Louis.

“We honestly put the client first. We put them ahead of ourselves. It’s purely a client-first operation. Stifel has a lot of those same values that Edwards had,” Watts said.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated was established in 1890 in St. Louis. It’s a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp., listed on the New York Stock Exchange as SF. It has more than $240 billion assets under management as of December 2016.

Watts said the growth of the company is another attractive feature. For the past 12 years, Stifel has absorbed other firms that benefit its relationships. Most recently, Stifel acquired Sterne Agee, Barclays Wealth Investment Management Americas, and Eaton Partners, and parent company Stifel Financial Corp. reported its 21st consecutive year of record net revenue.

According to a fact sheet released by the firm, Stifel is the seventh largest full-service investment firm in the U.S. in terms of the number of financial advisors.
“The Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) subsidiaries combined to rank No. 1 out of 161 qualifying firms in the 2017 Thomson Reuters analyst awards in the U.S.” Watts said. Research is obviously a key factor in investing, something that impresses Watts. “The research I’ve found here is really good, designed for the retail investor, not so much for the institutional investor.”

Many of Watts’ colleagues from companies he’s worked for in the past have joined him at Stifel. He said it feels like getting the “family back together.” Family is one more important aspect to what Watts accomplishes in his career.

“We have people that we’ve worked with for a lot of years,” Watts said. “We know them, we know their kids, we know their grandkids. We know what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s really gratifying to me to see a plan put in place with the parents, and work its way through to the kids, to see it all work out.”


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