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VOL. 129 | NO. 36 | Friday, February 21, 2014

Sector Capital Management Independent Again

By Andy Meek

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Three years after its acquisition by Argent Financial Group, Memphis-based Sector Capital Management is an independent company again.

WALTERS

Sector CEO Reed Walters led the negotiations to buy back the wealth management firm in the wake of Louisiana-based Argent going on something of an acquisition spree in recent years. Sector also has relocated from Argent’s office at The Crescent Center to the Atrium I building at 6800 Poplar Ave.

The deal, effective Oct. 31, kept the entire Sector team intact, and the firm is now again employee-owned. Contributing to the spin-off of Sector was the growth of Argent, Walters said, which is now a bigger and more diversified firm than it was when it arrived in Memphis four years ago with the opening of an office here.

Argent’s arrival in Memphis came via an acquisition of Memphis-based Investment Counsel and Trust Co. Argent then hired several financial professionals from Regions Morgan Keegan Trust.

Since 2010, Argent has scooped up or merged in recent years with firms like Sector in 2011 and last year Highland Capital Management. Highland is a longtime Memphis-based investment advisory firm led by president Steve Wishnia.

Beyond mergers and acquisitions, Argent also has been opening new offices as part of geographic expansions, such as the move it made into Nashville in 2012 with the opening of an office there.

Bringing some of the new companies under the Argent umbrella arguably led to a degree of overlap, and Sector, which had continued to exist as a wholly owned subsidiary after being acquired by Argent, decided it would be better for all sides if the firm spun itself out.

Walters said Sector kept all of its legacy clients and has since added several new clients since going back out on its own.

“One of the things that was a little different for us is we used to be just a pure institutional money manager, but after 2008 we started also taking on individual clients,” Walters said. “When we merged with Argent, that was basically their business exclusively. Now that we’re spun out, we’re still managing several institutional relationships, but we also see we have a niche to offer wealth management to individuals.”

Other than that, it’s nearly business as usual for Sector, which was founded in 1995 by Bill Gurner, who works side-by-side with Walters as a senior portfolio manager and through meeting with clients.

Prior to founding Sector, Gurner was the manager of trust investment at FedEx.

The Sector team that remained intact, including its original professionals and staff, includes Walters, who is now the majority owner and CEO. In addition to Gurner, there’s also Ken Riffle and Lisa Shive, both of whom have been with Sector for more than 15 years.

Riffle’s role encompasses sales and marketing and Shive handles portfolio accounting, reconciliation and reporting.

Other results of the spin-off included Sector changing its name back to Sector Capital Management from Argent Sector Capital Management. The move also didn’t slow down Sector’s performance, with Walters noting that 2013 was a strong year of returns for the firm’s clients.

“We continue to refine and improve what we do,” Walters said. “We remain committed to our clients, and we’re extremely appreciative of their support and trust in us.”

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