The History of A.G. Edwards
More Than a Century of Serving Investors
Since our founding in 1887, A.G. Edwards has been a part of the commercial and industrial development of America. Today it is one of the nation's oldest and largest investment firms, serving millions of investors throughout 49 states, the District of Columbia and London.

Gen. Albert Gallatin Edwards (1812 - 1892) retires from the post of assistant secretary of the Treasury for the Sub-Treasury bank in St. Louis (an appointment made by President Abraham Lincoln). He founded A.G. Edwards & Son in 1887 with his son, Benjamin Franklin Edwards.


Liberty Bond PosterA.G. Edwards helps middle-class investors invest in "Liberty Bonds." Millions purchase these bonds to finance the war effort. A.G. Edwards refocuses its business to serve these investors.

-- World War I Liberty Bond Poster, 1917.

A plunge in securities prices triggers mass selling of stocks in the crash of October 1929. A.G. Edwards suffers only minor losses.

William McChesney Martin Jr., a first cousin of Presley Edwards, joins the firm. Martin later becomes the first full-time president of the New York Stock Exchange.

After World War II the New York Stock Exchange and its member firms, including A.G. Edwards, undertake a major public education program -- "Buy a Share in America" -- to regain the confidence of individual investors.

In 1956 the fourth generation of the Edwards family, Benjamin F. Edwards III, great-grandson of the firm's founder, joins the firm.

In 1967 Ben Edwards III is appointed chairman and chief executive officer. He formalizes the firm's philosophy of putting clients' interests above all else in the mission statement:

"Our purpose is to furnish financial services of value to our clients. We should act as their agents, putting their interests before our own.

We are confident that if we do our jobs well and give value for what we charge, not only will mutual trust and respect develop, but satisfaction and a fair reward will result."

A.G. Edwards ProspectusBecause increased capital is needed for the branch system to grow,
A.G. Edwards is among the first brokerage firms to "go public." In November 1971, 445,000 shares of
A.G. Edwards stock are offered to the public at $12 a share.

-- Prospectus for the initial public offering of A.G. Edwards stock, November 1971.

After the 1987 stock market crash, the securities industry consolidates, with employment falling 30%. But A.G. Edwards, with its lean cost structure and strong capital position, is able to take advantage of numerous opportunities. Many financial consultants transfer to A.G. Edwards, and the firm adds 25 branch offices in the year following the crash. A.G. Edwards' branch office network grows by approximately one-third in the three years after the crash.


The firm's net revenues soar in the 1990s from $900 million in 1992 to more than $2.1 billion in 1999, and net earnings almost triple from $100 million to approximately $300 million during that same period.

A.G. Edwards
-- St. Louis Headquarters
The number of financial consultants & branches also increase dramatically during the 1990s. In 1990, the firm employs 3,861 financial consultants in 398 branches. It ends fiscal year 1999 with 6,528 FCs & 639 branches.

In March 2001 Robert L. Bagby, former branch director and 26-year veteran of the firm, is appointed chairman and chief executive officer. Ben Edwards III becomes chairman emeritus.

In January 2003 A.G. Edwards makes its eighth appearance on the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" list published by Fortune magazine. The firm is one of only a handful of companies nationwide to appear on all eight versions of the exclusive "100 Best" list, twice in the book by the same name and six times on Fortune magazine's annual list.