A group of former E.F. Hutton execs are in the process of resurrecting the venerable brokerage firm and its famous slogan, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen," Investment News reported today.
The new E.F. Hutton & Co. will be led by Chief Executive Frank Campanale, former CEO of the Smith Barney Consulting Group, a successor to Hutton's pioneering money-management unit.
Christopher Daniels, a former investment banker at Hutton, will lead the investment banking side. John Lohr, former general counsel at Hutton's consulting group, is the new firm's top attorney. Stanley Hutton Rambough, the grandson of the firm's original founder, is also involved with the effort.
Use of the Hutton brand was dropped after Primerica Corp. bought Shearson Lehman Hutton in 1993 and merged it with Smith Barney. Members of the alumni group bought the Hutton brand from an investor outfit more than a year ago, Mr. Daniels said. Citigroup Inc., which had owned the Hutton brand, sold the name as part of its asset sales after the financial crisis.
Mr. Campanale said, "the Hutton brand is well-known, and resonates with investors and clients. That's something a lot of firms are missing."
Details remain sketchy. Mr. Campanale said that Hutton would recruit high-end retail advisers and would also target institutional and corporate accounts.
Mr. Daniels declined to name the investors. "In the course of the last year, we've brought together a number of people -- former executives and management of Hutton," he said. "We've got substantial support and backing."
Mr. Daniels promised more announcements about the firm in coming weeks, including executive talent hires. Mr. Campanale, who left his position as CEO of Advanced Equities Wealth Management in January, said he wants to recreate Hutton's performance-oriented, innovative culture.
Besides its famous advertising tagline, Hutton is best known in the industry for creating the wrap account in 1975, after stock commissions were deregulated.
"To me, Hutton was the best firm I ever worked for," Mr. Campanale said. "I just believe there's a hole in the business that has not been filled with an appropriate structure for [high-quality] advisers [with] the culture of a firm" like Hutton.
Even so, the new Hutton will face daunting competition for adviser talent. Broker-dealers and RIA custodians offer a variety of services and robust open-architecture investment platforms, including managed accounts.
"We're aware of the competitive environment," Mr. Daniels said. "[But] we think there's space for a new player, especially one that comes with a great deal of experience that our people can bring."
Below, check out one of those famous E.F. Hutton ads (this one from 1979).