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50-Year Anniversary

Duncan-Williams Inc.

April 1, 2019

As Memphis celebrates its 200th anniversary, well-known corporate citizen Duncan-Williams, Inc. marks a momentous milestone as well — 50 years of serving the nation’s investors from its Memphis home.


 Gary Lendermon

Founded in 1969, the investment firm remains strong, Memphis-based, and family-owned.

Founded in 1969 by A. Duncan Williams, the firm started out as a small regional municipal bond firm, selling bonds for public projects to small-town banks and other fixed-income investors around the country. Duncan-Williams, Inc., and other Memphis-based bond firms helped propel the city into a major capital of the national bond industry — a distinction Memphis still holds.

Tragedy struck the firm in 1989 with the sudden death of A. Duncan Williams. But the principles he built the business on 20 years earlier served it well as his wife Carolyn Williams took the helm. “We had the trust of our customers, the experience of long-term and loyal employees, and the respect of our competitors,” she recalled.

The business continued to thrive under Carolyn Williams, who led the company for 11 years, and still remains its major stockholder and Board Chairwoman. Carolyn and Duncan’s son, Duncan F. Williams, became CEO in 2000, and by 2010 the firm had 170 employees and offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Seattle, Cleveland, Atlanta, and other cities. Duncan-Williams, Inc. then went on to spin off a highly successful private client business called Duncan Williams Asset Management.

As CEO, Duncan Williams has also leaned into his family’s commitment to the community, sponsoring countless community organizations and causes.

“Our business is complex, but our approach has always been simple,” Duncan Williams said. “When our clients do well, our employees do well. And when our employees do well, our company does well. And because our company does well, we can do so much more to make sure Memphis does well.”


From our beginnings as a small regional municipal bond firm, Duncan-Williams now ranks among the largest regional “Female Owned” investment banking firms in the nation. Although our roots are in the Southeast, we have grown into a nationally recognized, financial services provider serving clients across the country. Today, our team is better prepared than ever to address even the most complex financial challenges. We have expanded our capabilities across asset classes and financial markets, giving our clients broad access to an ever-changing world of financial opportunity.

Despite our continuous growth, we have not lost sight of the single most important asset responsible for our company’s growth—the trust placed in us by our clients, with whom we have built relationships that, in many cases, span decades. At Duncan-Williams, we know that our success depends on yours. That’s why, without exception, everyone in our firm is dedicated to building relationships based on trust, integrity and professionalism.

These core values, together with an unwavering commitment to quality, make us who we are as an investment firm.



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