Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephens Inc. is a privately held, independent financial services firm. As one of the largest privately owned investment banks in the country, Stephens has 25 offices worldwide and employs more than 700 people. In 1933, Witt Stephens founded W.R. Stephens Investments to trade Arkansas Highway bonds, which at the time were selling for as low as pennies on the dollar. By the time the bonds paid off at par in the early 1940s, Stephens had gained a reputation for municipal bond expertise and providing sound financial counseling. In 1946, upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, Jackson T. “Jack” Stephens joined his brother and with a handshake, the two brothers formed Stephens Inc. and a partnership that lasted more than 45 years. The two brothers quickly began a series of acquisitions that would become a catalyst for the firm’s growth and future. In 1945, Stephens purchased Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Company in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and in 1953, acquired what is now Stephens Production, an independent oil and gas exploration company. In 1954, they purchased a controlling interest in the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company.