DALLAS -- First Southwest Co. has hired a new director to head its clearing division after two executives left the firm earlier this year during a dispute over their rumored plans to start a rival firm.

The Dallas-based investment banking company has named Rick Hall, who was business analyst with the California securities consulting firm of IMIS., to the post of director.

"Mr. Hall brings over 25 years of management experience in all phases of clearance services within the securities industry, which will be of great benefit to our clients," said Hill Feinberg, First Southwest's co-chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

Before joining First Southwest, Hall was working on an IMIS contract to help establish a broker-dealer operation at Bank of America in San Francisco. He also has been an assistant operations manager for Southwest Securities in Dallas and served as treasurer and chief operating officer of Weber, Hall, Sales & Associates, which closed in 1991. Hall is a member of the Dallas Security Dealers Association.

Hall's appointment follows the resignation in January of Daniel Son, First Southwest's chief financial officer and managing director, who oversaw the clearing division, and Phil Pendergraft, a division manager.

Both left the firm after First Southwest placed them on administrative leave while the company evaluated rumors that the executives planned to start another venture and take some of Southwest's clients.

An arbitration hearing is pending before the National Association of Securities Dealers.

Meantime, Son and Pendergraft have joined another Dallas-based investment banking firm, Barre & Co., as senior executives and member of the board of directors. They are in the process of starting a clearing operation there.

They have hired 12 people for the operation since the February and have five clients, Son said. He declined to comment on whether Barre & Co. is recruiting clients from First Southwest.

"We have a number of prospects, and they come from across the board," Son said. "We want to grow the business in an orderly way."

Feinberg and Robert Utley, who is also a co-chief executive officer for First Southwest, were out of the office and could not be reached for comment yesterday. Hall confirmed that a few clients had moved from First Southwest, but declined to specify where. "We have had one or two clients leave and go to another firm," he said.

However, Hall said First Southwest not only expects to continue its clearing operations, but expand them. "I am concentrating on handling clients and bringing in new business," he said. "We fully expect to expand it."

First Southwest serves about 35 investment companies and handles about 500,000 transactions a year. Hall said the Dallas-based investment banking company is aiming to increase its client list to more than 50 in coming years.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.