Deal reached for a merger between Jackson Securities – M.R. Beal & Co.

Maria Saporta

Atlanta-based Jackson Securities, a company founded by the late former Mayor Maynard Jackson in 1987, is merging with M.R. Beal & Co., a New York-based leading investment banking firm.

The combination of the two well-established minority-owned enterprises will establish a template for the future expansion and integration of similar firms into an expanded investment banking platform. The merger is subject to regulatory approval.

Jackson Securities became a subsidiary of Atlanta Life Financial Group in 2007. Given the economy, fewer communities have been able to issue municipal bonds. That led Atlanta Life Financial Group saying that it would consider a range of options for Jackson Securities — from selling it outright to merging with another firm.

Bill Taggart, CEO of Atlanta Life, said Wednesday said there was a good cultural and historical fit for Jackson Securities and Beal & Co. They both were started around the same time — Beal was founded in 1988, one year after Jackson Securities. They have a shared vision, and their geographical footprints also were complementary.

“The headquarters of the combined firm will be in New York City,” Taggart said. “But Atlanta will be the Southeast regional hub for the firm.”

Atlanta Life will have an “equity stake in the combined entity,” said Taggart, adding that the new firm has not been formally named. “Since both firms have high name recognition, there’s a high likelihood that the new name would leverage both brands.”

Bernard B. Beal will serve as CEO of the merged company. And Bruce Gow, president of Jackson Securities, will serve as president of the new firm. Gow will based in Atlanta, which will the Southeast headquarters of the combined entity. “Bruce will be managing the historic footprint of Jackson Securities,” Taggart explained.

The merger will mean the company will have a presence in New York, Illinois, Texas, California, Georgia and Florida.

“This consolidation of these two well-established firms represents the integration of strong equity sales and trading departments, the melding of two solid equity execution platforms and the opportunity to leverage the well-regarded municipal finance relationships and track records of both firms to broader geographic markets,” Beal said.

Taggart said the combined firm “will create a more balanced business model” over a larger geographic area.

“We are very excited about the upside potential of the new firm, and (we) will seek other like-minded partners for future expansion,” Taggart said.

M.R. Beal participated in $297 billion of municipal underwritings in 2011, and it continues to rank among the top 20 underwriters of municipal securities worldwide. As one of the nation’s oldest minority-owned investment banking firms, Beal participated in several large IPOs, representing an equity volume that exceeds $23 billion to date.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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