People Talking Hilltop Securities

HilltopSecurities represents both the realization of a vision and a new beginning -- the combination of two established, respected and successful broker-dealers to create a new firm, greater than the sum of its parts.

In January of 2015, Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH), a Texas-based diversified financial holding company acquired Southwest Securities, Inc., a regional full-service broker-dealer founded in 1972. Hilltop Holdings is the parent company of PlainsCapital Bank, the 6th largest Texas-based bank by deposits, PrimeLending, a mortgage originator ranked 6th in the U.S. for purchase units in 2014, and National Lloyds Corporation, a niche property and casualty underwriter providing homeowners insurance for low value dwellings.

In addition, Hilltop Holdings was the parent of First Southwest Company, a broker-dealer established in 1946 and renowned for its nationwide public finance advisory business. With complementary business lines and a shared history representing more than 112 years of industry experience, Southwest Securities and FirstSouthwest were combined under the HilltopSecurities brand to create a new, stronger firm backed by a well-capitalized, publicly traded parent company to serve as trusted advocates for our clients. The consolidation of these firms represents the blending of two traditions of innovation, integrity and service.

Decades ago, each firm sank deep roots in Texas before branching out to deliver their unique expertise to clients across the nation.


FirstSouthwest was founded in Texas in 1946 by a small group of men who had met during their service in World War II. Originally dedicated to serving the financing needs of local municipalities, FirstSouthwest has grown into a national firm with offices across the country and expertise in every sector of public finance.

Early in its history, FirstSouthwest established itself as an innovator, developing a number of financial tools that were embraced across the industry. Through its work with municipalities, the firm defined the role of today’s public finance advisor. In the 1970s, FirstSouthwest cemented its place in the national public finance industry by developing and implementing a financial plan to build an oil storage facility in the Port of Valdez in Alaska using tax-exempt revenue bonds. At the time it was the largest tax-exempt deal ever brought to market.

Over the next four decades the firm continued to grow, expanding its presence in New England, New York, California and Alaska through strategic acquisitions. At the same time, FirstSouthwest has organically grown its business and suite of services to include arbitrage rebate, asset management and continuing disclosure. In addition to its role as a national leader in public finance, the firm’s other business units include capital markets, corporate finance and correspondent clearing services.

FirstSouthwest became part of PlainsCapital Corporation in 2008 and joined the Hilltop Holdings family of companies in 2012.

Southwest Securities

Southwest Securities was founded in Dallas in 1972 as MidSouthwest Securities, before changing its name in 1979. The company began with a single office and a handful of dedicated employees and has grown into one of the largest New York Stock Exchange member firms in the Southwest with offices across the country.

The firm was one of the first broker-dealers to enter the fully disclosed securities clearing business. In the 1970s, Southwest Securities became the “back office” for a number of other brokerage houses, and clearing developed as a core business. In the following decades, the firm made strategic acquisitions and added complementary lines of business, entering the public finance and municipal underwriting business in 1987. In the early 90s, the company also acquired trust and money management firms, growing its footprint and adding business lines.

Through an IPO in October 1991, Southwest Securities became the primary subsidiary of Southwest Securities Group, Inc., a publicly held parent company (later renamed SWS Group) and significantly expanded its fixed income business a few years later through the acquisition of another DFW-area brokerage firm. In 2008, the firm’s retail business established a major presence on the West Coast through the acquisition of M.L. Stern & Co.

Southwest Securities joined the Hilltop Holdings family of companies in 2015 with Hilltop’s acquisition of SWS Group.