5 Legg brokers on `top 100' list

Barron's screens 3,000 for best wealth advisers

September 25, 2004|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Five Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. brokers have been named among the 100 best wealth advisers in the country by Barron's, a financial weekly, which screened more than 3,000 brokers nationwide.

The brokers included Marvin H. McIntyre, Harry Ford Jr., Thomas E. Hill, James R. Snyder and Gregory S. Hurlbrink.

"We believe we have the finest financial advisers in the country and are delighted that five of the top 100 were chosen from Legg Mason," said James Brinkley, chairman of Legg Mason Wood Walker, the brokerage arm of Baltimore-based asset manager Legg Mason Inc.

McIntyre, who ranked fifth on the list, manages more than $2.5 billion and counts 80 professional athletes among his clients.

"We have tennis players, basketball players, football players," McIntyre said. "We work a lot with CEOs, we work a lot with authors, we work with politicians. We are not political when it comes to the color of money."

McIntyre said he and his staff of 11 focus on delivering a high level of personal service and a sense of security.

"They need to feel special," said McIntyre, who is based in Washington. "You need to be able to make sure that their heads hit the pillow every night."

Brokers, or wealth advisers, have become increasingly important as the number of millionaires has grown and as do-it-yourself investors have sought professional guidance after the stock market collapse.

Brokers, including those at Legg Mason, have reinvented themselves over the years. No longer do they simply facilitate stock trades, but they gather assets and offer a wide array of financial services from estate planning to tax counseling.

Legg Mason has benefited from the transformation. Investment advisory fees in Legg's fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30, for example, jumped 52 percent to $368.8 million, and revenue rose 29 percent to $539 million.

"The majority of people who were doing it themselves have come back and said, `Gee, it didn't work out very well,'" said Hurlbrink, who ranked 69th in the survey. "We ... feel more important than we have in a lot of years."

Ahead of Hurlbrink on the Top 100 list was Ford, who ranked 42nd, Hill, 49th and Snyder, 59th.

"It means a lot because it talks about your whole career and where you are," said Ford, who has worked at Legg for 40 years and has a nine-member staff that includes two sons. "It is a nice thing."

Barron's used consultant R.J. Shook to compile the list. He reviewed more than 3,000 top brokers and interviewed the firms, brokers, clients and regulatory records. He pressed the brokers on their knowledge of products, investing approach and calculated the assets they manage and revenue they bring into their companies.

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