Brokerage opens in Wichita

A new securities brokerage has opened in Wichita, but its local leader and the firm's lineage are familiar.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. has opened its first office in Wichita — and Kansas — at 10333 E. 21st St., in Remington Place Executive Park.

The St. Louis-based firm was started by Tad Edwards, the great-great-grandson of Albert Gallatin Edwards, the founder of brokerage firm A.G. Edwards, which was acquired by Wachovia Securities in 2007.

The person leading the office is the former Wichita branch manager of A.G. Edwards, Roger Buller, who also served on that firm's board of directors.

"I'm really just looking forward to entering this new chapter in my career" with a firm that has the "same principles, same client-first philosophy... that I've always adhered to," he said Friday.

Joining Buller is Mohammad Awad-Eljied, a financial consultant who previously was with Edward Jones.

Edwards officials said the Wichita office is the company's 16th since it opened its first one in August 2009. Besides Kansas, it has offices in Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. It has 158 employees companywide.

While Buller serves as the Wichita branch manager, he also serves in an executive capacity with Edwards' corporate office, both as a member of its board of directors and senior vice president and regional manager.

And, he said, he will work to develop his own base of clients, something he hasn't had since 2005, when he moved up the management chain at A.G. Edwards.

"I'm going to get back into the business of retail clients," said Buller, who in 2005 was promoted to mid-central regional manager for A.G. Edwards.

When asked if he would seek to do business with former A.G. Edwards clients and recruit former advisers in Wichita, Buller said he is covered by a non-solicitation agreement with Wells Fargo Advisors, which acquired Wachovia Securities in 2008.

Tad Edwards named the firm after his father, who died in 2009. He said it was his relationship with Buller that was a big reason why the firm chose Wichita for its 16th office.

" (While) we do want to grow all over the country... it's all about the quality of people," Edwards said Friday. "It's not putting pins on the map."