Little Rock, Ark.-based Stephens Inc. operates through
eight main units: investment banking, public finance, private
equity, research, capital management, insurance, wealth management,
and institutional sales and trading.
Stephens' investment banking team focuses on small- and
middle-market mergers and acquisitions advisory. Its industry
expertise includes aerospace and defense, building products and
construction services, business services, consumer and retail,
financial services, health care and life sciences, information
technology, power and energy solutions, telecommunications and
media, and transportation and logistics.
Stephens has been active in public finance since its beginning
in 1933. Its financing efforts typically involve governments,
schools, utilities, housing authorities, not-for-profit
organizations, industrial development and health care
The firm's award-winning equity research division covers about
300 stocks in the aerospace and defense, consumer, financial
services, health care, industrial, IT, technology and
transportation sectors. Its analysts have been honored in
Institutional Investor's All-American Research poll and The Wall
Street Journal's annual Best on the Street ranking.
Stephens Capital Management (SCM) has been a registered
investment advisor since 1982, and currently supervises portfolios
of equity and fixed-income assets worth over $3 billion.
Through Stephens Insurance, the firm provides personal and business
insurance solutions. The firm also offers wealth management
(including a full-service private client group), and institutional
sales and trading.
In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, W.R. (Witt)
Stephens formed a firm to buy up cheap Arkansas bonds.
Stephens paid 10 cents on the dollar for the devalued bonds, held
them until the state's economy came back to life a few years later,
and sold them at a handsome profit. Witt's brother Jack
joined the family business in 1946 and served as CEO from 1956 to
1986. He also joined Witt in investment ventures through a
family holding company now known as SF Holding Corp. Upon his
retirement, Jack handed the reins to his son Warren A. Stephens,
who has remained at the helm since then.
Jack Stephens died in 2005, triggering reorganization within the
family. Witt, Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell sold their
interest in Stephens Inc., the investment bank, to their cousin
Warren, who now holds 100 percent of its stock.