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VOL. 125 | NO. 85 | Monday, May 3, 2010

Louisiana’s Argent Establishes Memphis Office

By Andy Meek

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Louisiana-based Argent Financial Group, a diversified financial services company with $2 billion in client assets, has opened an office in Memphis.

Argent, which operates one of the region’s oldest full-service independent trust companies, recently acquired Memphis-based Investment Counsel and Trust Co. Argent then hired several financial professionals from Regions Morgan Keegan Trust.

The result is Argent Trust Co. of Tennessee’s first office – a Memphis presence at 5350 Poplar Ave.

“We’re big enough to serve anyone,” said Brent Westbrook, vice president and business development officer in Argent’s Memphis office.

ICT’s website includes a note for clients about the change, which became official March 1.

“Our team of experienced Memphis professionals, including former ICT personnel, will continue to provide you the personal service you have enjoyed,” the note reads. “And going forward you will benefit from Argent’s extensive experience and financial strength … and have access to a more comprehensive range of client-centered solutions for trust and wealth management.”

With headquarters in Ruston, La., Argent Financial Group has been operating since 1990. Its business lines offer a range of financial products and services – trust, advisory and fiduciary consulting services, to name a few.

Argent’s property services unit specializes in oil and gas asset management and farm management, providing property supervision to corporations, foundations, charities, banks, timber companies and more.

Argent Advisors Inc. provides wealth management and investment adviser services.

Argent Fiduciary Consulting Services provides auditing and risk management services to firms getting ready for audits or regulatory exams.

Argent’s range of trust services includes personal trust, employee benefit and institutional services.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, the company had consolidated revenue of about $10 million, equity capital approaching $6 million and no long-term debt.

James Ganier, a former vice chairman of Morgan Keegan & Co., and Frank Oldham, former chairman and CEO of American State Bank, signed on to join the Argent Trust of Tennessee board of directors. So did George Pappas, president of Argent Trust of Tennessee.

“Building from the foundation of a 30-year-old local business, we’ve added several of Memphis’ best-known financial professionals, and a board of directors with deep ties to the regional financial and trust industry,” said Kyle McDonald, CEO of Argent Financial Group.

McDonald also is the chairman of Argent Trust Co. of Tennessee.

“With the local ties we’ve developed, we’re excited to be here and ready to grow,” Westbrook said.

In Memphis, Argent will operate as a local trust business under a Tennessee state charter. Trust companies perform services like investment and asset management.

“We are very excited about creating a new, local option for meeting financial services and trust needs in the greater Memphis area,” McDonald said.

In light of the near meltdown of the economy and continued volatility in the financial sector, Pappas said Argent professionals are getting asked more – and better – questions these days about the products and services they offer.

And they, in turn, are working hard to make sure they address everything that comes their way.

“With all of the questions people are asking these days, I don’t think ‘Let me get back to you’ is good enough,” Pappas said.

PROPERTY SALES 56 437 16,061
MORTGAGES 76 508 18,556
BUILDING PERMITS 241 876 33,390
BANKRUPTCIES 64 301 10,314