William Barnard Chief Operating Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Frost Securities, Inc.
is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc., the largest independent bank in Texas.More than 130 years old, Cullen/Frost is the definition of a relationship bank, says William Barnard, chief operating officer and one of three founders of Frost Securities.Barnard, along with Rob Brown, president of Frost, and Brian Coad, chief financial officer, formerly were with the capital markets group for Dain Rauscher.
, Brown and Coad chose to stay in their home state and weigh their options.
,"We thought there was a good opportunity to form an investment bank of consequence here in Texas, one that would be poised to grow during the next up cycle," says Barnard
.With so many of the banks in the Southwest being gobbled up by mergers and acquisitions, there was a huge gap, he
colleagues started looking for a partner.Enter Cullen/Frost.The bank wanted to become a full-service financial institution, says Barnard
.To accomplish that goal, the bank's owners felt they needed a presence in insurance and investment banking.
,After deciding that Cullen/Frost would make a perfect partner, a deal was struck in January of 1999, and Frost Securities
officially opened its doors in August of the same year.Frost Securities
is unique, according to Barnard
, in that the company was built from the ground up, brick by brick."There's no comparable situation, where a large bank has formed its own equity research and investment banking arm," he
says."This is typically accomplished by merging with or acquiring an existing entity."
The challenges involved in building Frost Securities were great, but the experience has been incredibly rewarding, says Barnard
."The barriers to entry today are significant.The financial and regulatory hurdles are so great that it's just not something people are willing to attempt anymore."
But attempt it they did, and in just over two-and-a-half years, Frost Securities
has grown to 50 employees, including seven analysts."We're getting some real traction," says Barnard
attributes the company's early success to the decision to specialize in just two areas: energy and telecom technology."People recognize us for our expertise and contacts in those areas," he
"Everyone here has to be pulling on the same oar, helping each other, communicating and cooperating toward a common goal," says Barnard
When recruiting new analysts, Barnard looks for that kind of team player mentality.Candidates also should have hands-on experience in the industries they cover.Even better, he
says, if they have investment banking experience, too."We look for strength in their personal relationships with industry contacts and with their client bases," says Barnard
."But even before examining experience or teamwork skills, we have to like the people we hire.If we're going to build the right culture, we have to be comfortable with everyone."
,Analysts who join Frost Securities
are granted more flexibility than if they were to work for one of the larger Wall Street firms, which Barnard
characterizes as having more of a conveyor-belt mentality."Here, the major emphasis is on servicing accounts.It's refreshing to deal with people who do business the old way, who find stocks that are going up."As the lines between investment banking and equity research continue to blur, it's increasingly difficult for analysts at large firms to avoid compromise, he
Among the benefits clients gain from working with Frost Securities
are personal visits from political consultants and experts in various fields.Barnard
has taken Bob Dole, Gene Sperling, David Gergen and others to meet with Frost Securities accounts.
25 years of experience have taught him the importance of knowing the waters you're sailing in, he
says."If you're prepared, you're less likely to be surprised."That philosophy is especially pertinent in today's economy, where for the remainder of 2002, Barnard
predicts a market for traders, rather than investors."We've turned the corner, but for the rest of the year we expect stocks will trade in a relatively narrow range until a lot of the uncertainties are behind us.It will be a challenging year," he