CHICAGO — Stern Brothers & Co. last week announced the opening of a Houston office and the hiring of an analyst at its St. Louis headquarters to replace Brian Tournier, a 20-year veteran who recently moved over to fixed-income investment manager Ascent Investment Partners to lead its new research efforts.

To fill the void left by Tournier, Stern hired Joseph Riley, formerly a senior analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis. Riley joins as a vice president of credit analysis and research. As part of its steady expansion, Stern also announced the opening of a new Texas office and the hiring of Michael Davis as a managing director there.

In his new role at Ascent, Tournier will lead credit research, monitor and review existing prospective investments, and publish periodic research reports on market trends and credit developments, according to a news release. He will report to principals Sandy Pourcillie and Jeff Ladd.

The partners believe Tournier is a good fit for the firm’s newly created research position. “Brian has an impressive breadth of experience across all aspects of financial industry research and analysis, and his background fits nicely with the goals of our firm,” Ladd said in the release.

“Ascent recognizes that no two investors are alike, and our effort to customize portfolios is largely dependent on careful research and analysis of industry trends and opportunities. This is where Brian excels, and we are fortunate to bring him aboard,” he said.

Before joining Ascent, Tournier was a vice president and director of credit analysis in the St. Louis headquarters of Stern, where he managed all aspects of credit analysis. He also previously was a vice president and group leader of municipal research at the former A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. There, he led the team responsible for analyzing credit quality, identifying market opportunities, and publishing research for retail and institutional clients.

Ascent, which was formed in 2010 and serves high-net-worth individual and institutional clients, currently has $840 million in assets under management, according to the company. In addition, it is affiliated with Montage Investments, a Leawood, Kan.-based money manager that currently manages over $8 billion for institutional and high-net-worth retail customers.

Stern Brothers said Riley is an 11-year veteran analyst of public finance and some corporate sectors. “Joe has an extensive background as a municipal bond credit analyst, performing the financial due diligence on underwritings, syndicate offerings, and secondary market issues for issuers from a wide variety of sectors,” the firm said in a statement. “Joe has also worked on large issuances in the utility and telecom industries.

Davis is a 24-year veteran of public and corporate finance banking with experience in the general government sector, health care, transportation, housing, and clean energy and technology. “His professional career has afforded him the breadth of experience necessary to advise, develop and implement reasoned solutions to complex financial and operational challenges for governmental, nonprofit and corporate clients,” Stern Brothers said.

The Houston addition brings to more than a dozen the number of Stern offices that conduct public finance. The firm over the last year has opened a series of new offices and bolstered its municipal staff — including bankers, sales professionals and analysts — as it seeks to double its size and expand its banking capabilities.

Aside from its headquarters, Stern Brothers has offices in Atlanta, Kansas City, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Detroit, Reno, Nev., Seattle, Sonoma County, Calif., and Tampa, Fla.

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