FirstSouthwest was founded in Texas in 1946 by a small group of men who had met during their service in World War II. Following the War, these men merged their individual firms into a small, one-office investment bank dedicated to servicing the finance needs of local Texas municipalities. From this start, FirstSouthwest has grown into a national firm with offices throughout the United States and expertise in every major sector of public finance.
In the years immediately following its founding, FirstSouthwest developed a number of innovative financial tools that were embraced across the financial industry, such as zero-coupon bonds. Additionally, through its ongoing work with municipalities, the Firm defined the role of today's financial advisor, an individual who assists municipalities seeking to efficiently issue debt.
The 1970s were the beginning of significant change for the firm as the municipal industry became regulated with the formation of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. FirstSouthwest embraced this change. Equally challenging was the firm's participation in a pioneering approach to financing an iconic project. In the late 1970s, the industry watched as the Firm developed and implemented a financial plan to build an oil storage facility in the Port of Valdez in Alaska, utilizing tax-exempt revenue bonds. At $1.4 billion, it was at the time the largest tax-exempt deal ever brought to market. Over the next 30 years, the Firm provided financial advisory and underwriting services to hundreds of governmental entities across the United States.
To expand the Firm's presence into New England, New York, California and Alaska, the Firm has made strategic acquisitions over the past decade. These acquisitions include Houston-based Masterson Moreland Sauer Whisman Inc. in 1996; the New England financial advisory practice of Fleet Boston Financial Group in 2001; and New York-based Arimax in 2004.
The Firm has also sought to organically enhance its breadth of services to include arbitrage rebate, asset management and continuing disclosure to meet the ever-expanding and specialized needs of our clients.
In addition to its focus on Public Finance, the Firm also provides specialized industry expertise to individual and institutional investors through its Capital Markets business unit; to closely-held, middle market businesses through its Corporate Finance business unit; and to Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors through its Correspondent Clearing business unit.
First Southwest Holdings, Inc., the former holding company for First Southwest Company, merged with a subsidiary of PlainsCapital Corporation, a financial services company, on December 31, 2008.
PlainsCapital Corporation is a diversified financial services company made up of three complementary operating segments: banking services, mortgage origination and public finance investment banking offered through its three subsidiaries: PlainsCapital Bank, PrimeLending, and FirstSouthwest. PlainsCapital Corporation employs 2,400 employees in 166 locations in 31 states.
More than 65 years after its founding, with offices in 12 states plus Washington, D.C. and 1,600 clients throughout the U.S., FirstSouthwest still provides the proactive expertise and the highly personalized service one might expect from a small, one-office investment bank.