W.R. "Witt" Stephens
In 1933, W.R. (Witt) Stephens founded Stephens Inc. to trade
Arkansas Highway bonds, which were then selling as low as 10 cents
on the dollar. He had been encouraged by his father, A.J. Stephens,
a state legislator who insisted that Arkansas would eventually make
good on the bonds. By the time the bonds paid off at par in the
early '40s, Stephens Inc. had gained a reputation for both
municipal bond expertise and for providing sound financial
Witt Stephens was a man of great charm and unparalleled public
influence. A man whose business, civic and political leadership
helped shape the destiny of Arkansas and the nation.
To the family at Stephens Inc., he was a warm and generous man,
an uplifting force. His dedication to quality, coupled with a
burning desire for both personal and professional achievement,
continues to be an inspiration to all who knew him.
Since its founding, the firm has expanded in a natural but
conservative evolution. Trading municipal bonds led to municipal
underwriting and to the development of close relationships with
institutional and individual investors, many of whom have become
our close and longtime friends.