James S. Holbrook

When Jim Holbrook became chief executive officer of Sterne Agee Group, Inc., revenue was $5 million. Today firm revenue is more than $350 million.

James S. Holbrook, Jr., 68 and now chairman, president, and chief executive officer, has remained at the helm of the investment bank for 22 years since the consolidation of its securities firm, Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc. with First Birmingham Securities Corporation, the company Holbrook founded and operated from 1970-1990.

Sterne Agee was founded in 1901 and remains one of the few privately-owned brokerage firms in the country. The firm has more than 140,000 clients across all 50 states and manages more than $17 billion in assets. Sterne Agee Group, Inc. comprises seven subsidiaries.

Holbrook has kept the company’s headquarters in Birmingham, providing economic sustainability and employing more than 400 residents of the city and suburbs, and more than 500 statewide. The company employs 1300 people.

Holbrook began his affinity for the investment world after receiving his bachelor of arts degree in business and finance from The University of Alabama. His first job was in the Public Finance Group at R.W. Knight & Company in 1966.

Throughout his career, he has served on the Board of Governors for the National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA) and was Vice-Chairman of the National Business Conduct Committee. During that time Holbrook also served on the Corporate Finance Committee, the Sanctions Guidelines Committee, the Statutory Disqualifications Committee, and the Executive Committee.

At one point, he served as Chairman of the District No. 5 Business Conduct Committee. Holbrook is also a member of the SIFMA Regional Firms Committee and Management Roundtable.

Holbrook’s civic involvement includes The University of Alabama President’s Cabinet, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame Board of Directors, past Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, and a member of the Commerce Executive Society. In 1999, Holbrook was made Honorary Member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society at The University of Alabama serving business programs accredited by AACSB International.

To encourage the growth and development of the business community, Holbrook currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Birmingham Business Alliance and in 2008 served on the Board of Trustees for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also is a member of the Alabama Council of Economic Education Board and serves on the Robert E. Reed Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Foundation Corporate Board.

He has been a long-time member of The Newcomen Society, Alabama chapter, and Toqueville Society, as a partner of United Way.

Holbrook is married to the former Patricia Giltz. He has a son and a daughter and five grandchildren.