Julis M. Walsh & Sons, Inc.
Starting June 1, that will be the name on a suite of offices at the Barr Building, facing Farraugut Square in downtown Washington.
As the title proclaims, this will not be just another new company in town. It will be the first stock brokerage and investment company in this part of the United States ever headed and principally owned by a woman and one of only three such firms in the entire country.
After 22 years with the Washington securities firm of Ferris : Co., Inc., during which she became one of the most successful stock brokers in the nation, julia M. Walsh is going inyo business for herself and several members of her large family.
The firm will specialize in comprehensive investment advice and services, with full research and computer facilities. Walsh emphasized that she will seek business from individuals and institutions with relatively small assets as well as larger accounts.
Walsh & Sons will be a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a broker and investment adviser. A decision on whether to seek membership on the New York and American stock exchanges will be made in the near future, she said.
The decision to start a new firm, at age 54, was made only after Walsh turned down a tentative offer from the Carter administration to become a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Walsh also had been considered by Carter to be Secretary of Commerce but she lost out to Juanita Kreps, reportedly because Walsh had no experience in running a large corporation or agency.
In an interview yesterday, Walsh said she readily would have accepted sacrifices to become a member of the Carter cabinet. "I have no hard feelings . . . I was offered other meaningful posts," including the SEC post, she said. But the administration required a commitment to five years on the job and Walsh said returning to private life at age 59 would make development of a new career than almost impossible.
Walsh said she was faced with the choice of taking a non-cabinet post with Carter, whom she strongly supports, or starting a new firm with two sons who told her they would have to reach out for other job opportunities in the near future if they couldn't join her in a new venture.
"If ever this was to be done, it had to be done now . . . It's also a very good time to be enterpreneurial . . . the stock market looks worse than it is," Walsh added.
Walsh's departure will be a significant loos for Ferris & Co., where she has had about $25 million in individual or small institutional funds under management. She will resign as vice chairman of Ferris at the annual meeting later this month, a post to which she was named in 1974.
Ferris president George M. Ferris Jr., who was informed of the Walsh decision earlier this week, said yesterday," I'm certainly sad to see her leaving. But it's all very friendly . . . she wants to do her own thing. There's a high degree of respect among both parties . . . 45 years ago the chairman (of Ferris, George M. Ferris Sr.) decided to do the same thing," and the ferris firm was started.
Walsh agreed that the break was being made on a friendly basis but she conceded that a reality of the security business - some of her current customers probably will move their accounts to the new firm - "is the most painful part . . . I hope there will be some offsetting benefits" for Ferris.
Specifically, Walsh and Ferris revealed that negotiations now are under way on developing a "close relationship" between the two companies, with Walsh & Sons using some Ferris services or facilities. Walsh said she hoped to work out an agreement to work with the Ferris bond department which she described as "the best in the city." At the moment, Walsh & Sons is planning to process stock purchases and sales through Dean Witter & Co., under a correspondence relationship.
Walsh is used to setting precedents for women in America's world of business, which is dominated by males. In 1962, she became the first woman graduate of Harvard Business School's advanced management program and in 1972, the first woman member of the American Stock Exchange. Later she was elected a governor of the Amex, the first woman from the securities business to take a seat as director of a stock exchange.
In her new role as board chairman of Walsh & Sons, she plans to set additional precedents, While she will be by far the largest stockholder at first, her share of wonership will be reduced gradually on a periodic basis so that she owns 50 per cent or less in five years, Walsh said, adding:
"I'm convinced that one of the greatest experiences is being a real entrepreneur . . . if I won too much that reduces the incentive for the younger people, a direct immediate reward for success and feeling it if not."
Among the owners whose shares will grow are the principals: Thomas D. Walsh, 30, president and treasurer; John E. Montgomery, 27, vice president for research and portfolio management; Alexander Armstrong vice president for financial planning; and Michael Montgomery, 22, secretary.
All but Armstrong are members of the Walsh family and all but Thomas Walsh family and all but Thomas Walsh have been working at Ferris. Julia Walsh had four children from her marriage to John Montgomery, who died in 1957. Later she married Thomas M. Walsh, a widower. They have 12 children including seven from the previous marriage of thomas M. Walsh, former president of the board of Trade and now vice chairman of national Permanent Federal Savings & Loan.
Son thomas D. Walsh has been in the securities business for 10 years and currently is excutive secretary of the National Association of Secutities Dealers. John E. Montgomery has been director of research at Ferris, Armstrong has worked at Ferris since 1961 and is one of 600 persons in the U.S. designated as a certified financial planner, and Michael Montgomery has worked as a research assistant at Ferris for six months.
All three sons in the business have undergraduate degrees in economics and two have masters of business administration degrees. For the past 10 years, Walsh noted yesterday, she and her husband have had four children in college each year. Their youngest child is in seventh grade.
Walsh said her investment philosophy, and that of her sons, is to aviod issues that are susceptible to downward shifts in value. The ultimate goal is to hold steady during periods of a declining stock market and to advance strongly during periods of growth. "Preserve capital, that's a key," she asserted.