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In 1883, the forerunner of Hazlett Burt & Watson, Inc. opened for business under the name of Hazlett, Wheat & Hayes. The office was located at 1314 Main Street, Wheeling, West Virginia and the principals of the firm were Howard Hazlett, E.P. Wheat and Rudolph A. Hayes. In 1891, Hazlett purchased his partners’ interest and re-organized the firm into Howard Hazlett and Company, specializing in stocks and bonds. His son, Howard Hazlett II, joined the firm and the name was changed to Howard C. Hazlett & Son.
In early 1923, D.A. Burt resigned from the Wheeling Steel Corporation and joined the brokerage firm, which then became Hazlett & Burt. They purchased a membership in (a seat on) the New York Stock Exchange and were early promoters of investing in blue chip common stocks.
John C. Watson, one of Weirton Steel’s founders, joined the Steubenville, Ohio office of Hazlett & Burt in 1928. Ten years later, on October 1, Watson, Howard Hazlett II, and D.A. Burt, Jr., formed the partnership Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. Hazlett retired from the company in 1948. In 1973, upon the death of D.A. Burt, Jr., the firm was purchased by George S. Weaver, Jr., Stuart F. Bloch, John C. Watson, and other employees. The firm remains employee-owned to this day.
In 2000, Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. converted to a holding company structure (HB&W Inc.) in order to establish a new line of business. In May 2000, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) approved Security National Trust Company as a Federally Chartered Special Purpose Independent Trust Company to provide traditional trust services. Security National has grown rapidly and had client assets approximating $650 million by December 2010. These assets, plus the assets entrusted to Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc., currently total in excess of $1.6 billion.
On August 12, 2003, executives of Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. were accorded the honor of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) along with Dick Grasso, chairman and CEO/NYSE, and Catherine Kinney, president and co-chair/NYSE. The firm was recognized as an 80-year member firm that, in the words of Ms. Kinney, “has upheld the best traditions and integrity of the exchange.”
As the financial markets have grown more complex over the years, Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. launched a new registered investment advisory division named Security Capital Management (in early 2006). Through Security Capital Management, the firm’s financial advisors are able to provide a comprehensive approach to managing our clients’ financial needs, going above and beyond providing traditional trading services.
Whether it is the market crash of 1929, the decline in prices of 1987, the bursting of the technology and Internet bubble in 2000, or the 30-50% decline in late 2008 and early 2009, Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. has assisted clients in a quiet, conservative manner to help them endure and ultimately prosper through these volatile periods. George S. Weaver, Jr., Chairman, states, “We continue to have only one goal and that is to make money for our clients."
Today, Hazlett, Burt & Watson, Inc. continues its success as one of the oldest securities firms in the nation. The firm is a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). The firm maintains its corporate headquarters in Wheeling, West Virginia with branch offices in Vienna, West Virginia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.