By: Brian Bus, Journal Record, June 29, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – The merger of AmeriTrust Corp. of Tulsa into Oklahoma City-based Heritage Trust Co. and its parent company Argent Financial Group closed Friday, officials said.
The state Banking Department approved the deal in May, allowing the companies to continue to operate separately in their respective markets under one Oklahoma charter while both benefit from access to Argent’s $19 billion in assets.
“AmeriTrust and Heritage both have common roots coming out of big-bank trust departments,” Heritage Chairman Bond Payne said. “Both of us were pioneers in the independent trust space in the 1990s, and we’ve each spent the last 20 years building sustainable, independent, wealth management firms.”
“They’ve got a successful practice, and the last thing we want to do is disturb their relationships with their clients,” Payne said. “We just want to build on what they’ve got, and hopefully they can help us do the same.”
AmeriTrust Chief Executive Harvie Roe, who founded the company 21 years ago, will continue to manage the Tulsa operation. Fellow owner and AmeriTrust director Jerry Hudson will join the board of the merged company. Payne said no further leadership changes are expected.
Roe said the merger was initiated by his company when board Chairman Robert Biolchini died in 2017 and the ownership family decided it was time to divest – management succession was disrupted at the board level rather than the daily executive level, he said. The companies’ management teams have known each other for many years, so the merger was a natural fit.
Argent is domiciled in Louisiana and offers trust administration, retirement plans, estate planning and charitable organization administration. In addition to the company’s billion-dollar asset base, it is also responsible for managing 2 million mineral acres for families, institutions and business clients.
Aside from financial planning and trust administration, Heritage also offers management services in oil and gas and real estate. The company was founded in 1998 and now has offices in Ponca City and Southlake, Texas. It merged with Argent in 2015.
AmeriTrust, formed in 1997, provides similar trust management and administration services. The company on its own is responsible for more than $600 million in client assets.