VOL. 6 | NO. 23 | Saturday, June 01, 2013
Securities & Investments
Argent Hire Underscores Firm’s Growth
By Andy Meek
The hiring of Phil Buchanan by Argent Financial Group as the company’s new president underscores what’s been a continual growth story at Argent.
Even before the Ruston, La.-based financial services firm established a Memphis presence in 2010, but especially since then, Argent has opened new offices, added staff, solidified its presence here and still managed to prepare for growth to come.
The newest evidence of that is Argent’s hire of Buchanan, who brings more than 25 years of experience in leading, advising and consulting financial firms on a global basis. He’s joined Argent’s management team and is responsible for leading the company’s relationship management and marketing teams.
Buchanan also will play a key role in managing Argent’s brand and growth strategies and in expanding its base.
Argent CEO Kyle McDonald said roping in Buchanan was a natural fit for both Buchanan and the company, citing his experience and the company’s continued growth.
Previously, Buchanan served as the CEO of Cannon Financial Institute, a financial services educational and professional development firm. He also is an active adviser to several companies including Allen & Co. and Laurus Principal Group LLC.
“There’s zero question Memphis is a very strategic market for Argent,” Buchanan said, citing the types of business and financial assets within a 50-mile radius of Argent’s Memphis office at The Crescent Center. “We want to stay extremely close to our clients, and we’re also looking to build capacity and our footprint.”
As far as how he came to land at Argent, Buchanan said: “There were a lot of clients throughout the footprint that Argent now covers that in my opinion weren’t receiving the very best of counsel and advice. And if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s that the end user deserves the very best counsel and advice. That really for me hit a tipping point around 2010.”
It hit him to the point that he and some others began talking about starting a firm from scratch, something that would focus on business “in the right way.” Then, however, Buchanan met McDonald through a friend and was impressed with the company – enough to eventually join it.
Regarding Argent’s other recent growth, the company acquired The Trust Co. of San Antonio. McDonald said his company had been looking for options that would give the firm a Texas presence. And joining forces with The Trust Co., he said, “ensures our ability to continue providing exceptional experience for our clients.”
Closer to home, earlier this year Argent reached a deal to merge with Highland Capital Management, a longtime Memphis-based investment advisory firm. Founded 25 years ago, Highland is led by president Steve Wishnia, and Highland got to keep its name and management team as part of the deal.
The expanded Highland team will provide oversight and ongoing management for all portfolio management functions of the combined firms. Last year, Argent also announced its expansion into Nashville, with the opening of a new office there that would house four employees to start.
“Our model’s pretty simple,” McDonald said.
In short, it involves localizing client service and centralizing other services that don’t directly “touch” clients. McDonald said the company also looks hard to “find people in a market who want to be at Argent.”
Argent is responsible for more than $5.5 billion in client assets. The company provides individuals and businesses with financial services that include trust administration and related services, investment management, retirement plan and charitable organization administration, mineral management and financial, retirement and estate planning.