National firm acquires local company

Published 11:01 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

A local brokerage firm has been acquired by a national firm that will allow the local office to concentrate more on its clients and brokers, according to the president of the new branch.

Investors Security Company Inc., which has an office on Pruden Boulevard, became a branch of Securities America, a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. It provides products such as mutual funds, variable annuities, stocks and bonds, as well as services such as retirement planning, college planning and general financial planning.

Investors Security Company was founded in 1964 by Cabell Birdsong. Part of the reason for joining the national firm, branch president Christopher Holloway said, was because Birdsong is now 77 years old.

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“Brokers were getting nervous” about what would happen if something were to happen to Birdsong, Holloway said. “Some clients were getting nervous.”

Even though there was a short-term plan in place, there were no long-term plans. The new arrangement “creates that sense of security for our clients,” Holloway said.

Another consideration was the growing cost of doing business, Holloway said.

“The cost of running a broker/dealer in today’s world is exorbitant,” he said. The business had remained profitable, but profits were shrinking, he said.

Securities America is such a large national firm that it “could take over every single client account without adding a single employee,” Holloway said.

Holloway, who has worked there since 1999, will own the branch. Birdsong has agreed to stay on for at least five years.

“He gave me my start in the business 14 years ago,” Holloway said. “As long as he wants an office, he’s got one.”

Gregg Johnson, senior vice president for branch office development and acquisitions at Securities America, said the firm seemed like a good fit to help his company increase its presence in the Southeast.

“We love the fact we can get a stronger presence in the Virginia area,” he said. “We’re also looking for quality partners and quality advisers. We know after meeting with Cabell and Chris and some of their top advisers they would be a great fit. We’re glad we were able to make this relationship work.”