The early years of Boenning & Scattergood
In 1914, Philadelphia financier and banker, Henry Dorr Boenning, established the investment banking firm of Boenning & Company. Integrity, expertise, and a commitment to client service provided the foundation for his business, which continues to this day. His proficiency in corporate finance and investment advisory proved to be advantageous for countless individuals and organizations in the Philadelphia region. Henry Boenning Sr.’s financial acumen and unwavering dedication to his clients could be summed up with a piece of advice given to his son, Henry Boenning, Jr., in the years following the 1929 stock market crash: “Never buy anything until you can afford it.”
As a member of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and an associate member of the New York Curb Exchange, Mr. Boenning Sr. earned the respect and trust of those in the Philadelphia business community, as well as his clientele. To this day, Boenning & Scattergood has sustained a considerable client base, some of whom have remained with the firm since its inception. This client loyalty and commitment further exemplifies the company’s enduring position within the financial community for more than 100 years.
A New Partnership
The continuity of the firm was soon solidified with an emergent relationship between Henry Boenning, Sr. and a recent addition to Boenning’s trading department. It began in 1935, when Harold Scattergood joined the firm as an equity trader, a position that would remain his passion throughout his career at the firm. He broadened the trading capabilities of the firm with great aptitude, thereby increasing the products and services that Boenning & Company offered to its customers.
Mr. Scattergood soon earned the confidence and respect of Mr. Boenning by identifying investment opportunities that Wall Street typically overlooked. With his trademark reliance on patience and due diligence, each department came to trust his judgment and recommendations. Mr. Scattergood dedicated time in the later part of the 1930’s into the 1940’s attending bankruptcy hearings for the public utility industry. As a result, he became a well-regarded investor in this distressed sector. He became particularly well known for his knowledge of utility companies such as Missouri Public Service and North American Light and Power, which later became Illinois Power. With each passing year, Mr. Scattergood’s combination of quiet leadership and sharp perception earned him continuous respect from the business community. He soon became recognized for this nationally.
Upon Henry Dorr Boenning’s death in 1943, Boenning & Co. continued operations thanks to Mr. Scattergood’s commitment to remain with the firm at Mrs. Boenning’s request. As a result of their courage and conviction, Boenning & Co. continued its business while soliciting the return of Henry Boenning Jr. from overseas service in World War II. In 1947, a new partnership was formed when Harold F. Scattergood became senior partner of Boenning & Company. Henry Boenning, Jr. recalls this decision with discerning ease remarking; “Harold Scattergood, Sr. became the glue that held everything together.”
Despite market fluctuations and changes in the structure of the financial industry, Boenning & Company’s core values of integrity, expertise and commitment to client satisfaction never wavered. Throughout this period, the firm was a member on the Philadelphia Baltimore Washington (PBW) Stock Exchange in addition to the NY Curb Exchange (now known as the American Stock Exchange, or AMEX).
At the time, most Wall Street firms did not hold dual memberships. Instead, they forged reciprocal trading relationships with trustworthy firms at other stock exchanges such as Boenning & Company. The firm received trade executions by larger Wall Street firms on the New York Stock Exchange, and in turn, executed their trades on the AMEX. In the early 1970’s, the seats on the PBW were kept, but both seats on the AMEX were sold.
Transitioning for the Future
In 1969, the Scattergood name was added when the firm incorporated and Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. was formally introduced to the Philadelphia business community. It was also in this year that Harold Scattergood Sr.’s son, Harold Jr. joined the firm, and began developing long-lasting relationships with accounts of his own. In 1985, Harold F. Scattergood, Jr. became Chairman of the firm with the passing of his father. A bittersweet time, the firm’s legacy continued with a fresh set of initiatives put forth by the second generation of leadership at Boenning & Scattergood.
As the financial industry experienced frequent acquisitions of independent boutique firms like Boenning & Scattergood, Mr. Scattergood remained dynamic and innovative in his own expansion plans for the firm. He held steadfast in his belief that in order to provide the highest level of service to its customers, it was best to remain independent.
While the retail brokerage business enjoyed steady growth during this time, the institutional expansion took shape with taxable and municipal fixed income sales & trading, institutional equity execution & trading, equity option strategy, asset management, investment banking, public finance and equity research. Rounding out the most recent accompaniments to Boenning & Scattergood was the establishment of 1914 Advisors, which offers tailored investment advisory and financial planning services for individual, family, corporate and institutional investors.
Today, the firm proudly continues operations in adherence to the ideals and values set forth by the founders of the firm and the employees and clients of Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. remain proud of the firm’s rich and storied heritage. A visit to the corporate headquarters in suburban Philadelphia often includes a warm greeting from Harold Scattergood. Perhaps this personal element best illustrates the individualized focus Boenning & Scattergood offers.