Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. has opened a new office in Red Bank, N.J., giving the three-year-old brokerage firm a presence in 12 states.

Benjamin F. Edwards IV, the one-time heir apparent to the leadership position at A.G. Edwards, founded the St. Louis, Mo.-based firm. And he has heavily staffed it with veterans of A.G. Edwards, which was sold to Wachovia in 2007 and has since been subsumed into Wells Fargo. True to form, a five-person team from Wells Fargo Advisors left that firm to found the Red Bank branch, which is the 18th for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

The new office is led by Todd Leonhardt, a Certified Financial Planner who knows the Red Bank market well: six years ago opened a new office there for A.G. Edwards.

Benjamin (Tad) Edwards IV has said that he started his current business to continue the A.G. Edwards “legacy.” In a statement, Leonhardt called his new employer “a perfect fit for us. “Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. offers the robust selection of quality products and services our clients need, combined with the personalized service and attention that makes working and investing with this firm so pleasant and easy,” he said.

“Tad” Edwards is the great-great-grandson of Albert Gallatin Edwards, who founded A.G. Edwards Inc. in 1887. His father, Benjamin F. Edwards III, was the last family member to run the firm. When he retired in 2001, directors raised eyebrows by selecting as his successor Robert Bagby rather than Benjamin Edwards IV. 

Meanwhile, Edwards & Co. has also recently added to its home office staff Theresa Fry, an IRA and retirement plan expert. She is a former field consultant for State Farm Insurance and a vice president and manager of IRA and distribution planning at A.G. Edwards. At Edwards & Co. she is president and manager of IRA and retirement plans and works with the firm’s financial advisors and clients on retirement planning matters.

Its recent hires have brought Edwards & Co.’s employee total to 185. In addition to the New Jersey location, the brokerage has offices in Connecticut, New York, Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee and Illinois.

Also joining the Red Bank location are Michael Doherty, as a senior vice president for investments; James Ireland, as a financial consultant, along with Richard Niekrash, as a senior registered financial associate, and Robert Sim, as registered financial associate.