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Top Houston wealth management firm splits

Three employees, including the daughter of the founder, have left Houston-based James E. Bashaw & Co., one of the largest wealth management and investment advisory firms in Houston, to create a new firm, rendering the status of JEB & Co. unclear.

On Oct. 11, two brokers and an assistant formerly associated with JEB & Co. announced they were joining the Houston office of Memphis-based Wunderlich Securities under the name the Bashaw Group. One of the brokers is Mason Bashaw, daughter of James “Jeb” Bashaw, chairman of JEB & Co. The others are Lane Clelland, former financial advisor at JEB, and Laura Thompson, former vice president of client services at JEB, where she worked for 10 years, according to Wunderlich's website.

The regroup comes after Boston-based LPL Financial, the largest organization of independent financial advisors in the U.S., discharged Jeb Bashaw for “failing to follow firm policies and industry regulations,” according to LPL's filing with the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Wunderlich spokeswoman confirmed Oct. 9 that Wunderlich was in the process of transferring the licenses of “several brokers” associated with JEB & Co. from LPL to Wunderlich. An investment advisor representative public disclosure report filed Oct. 10 states that James Bashaw's registration with Wunderlich lasted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 9 and that he is not currently registered as an investment advisor representative.

The JEB website was disabled Oct. 10, with employees citing administrative maintenance issues. As of Oct. 11, the website redirects to a new page on the Wunderlich website, which states: “We are pleased to share the exciting news that Mason, Lane and Laura have recently formed the Bashaw Group and joined the Houston office of Wunderlich Securities. We made the move to Wunderlich because we believe this new affiliation will allow us to continue to serve your wealth management needs.”

The Bashaw Group was not immediately available for comment. James Bashaw was not immediately able to be reached.

The JEB office in Austin answered the phone “LPL Financial” on Oct. 9. JEB & Co. reported that it employed 55.

Following on the heels of the announcement that LPL had discharged Bashaw, Texas Dow Employees Credit Union, Houston's largest credit union with more than $2 billion in assets, ended the relationship it formed in February with Bashaw to expand its wealth management offerings.

“TDECU Wealth Advisors now works directly with LPL Financial to ensure our members have continuous access to wealth management and retirement services,” TDECU told the Houston Business Journal on Oct. 10. “TDECU no longer has a relationship with James E. Bashaw.”

According to the LPL Financial filing with the Central Registration Depository, the brokerage firm discharged Bashaw for the following reasons:

“(a) Participating in private securities transactions without providing written disclosure to and obtaining written approval from the firm.

(b) Borrowing from a client.

(c) Engaging in a business transaction that created a potential conflict of interest without providing written disclosure to and obtaining written approval from the firm.”