The Silicon Review
AmeriVet Securities, Inc., is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB) investment banking firm based in New York City. Established in May 1994 as one of the first SDVOB broker-dealers, AmeriVet Securities, Inc., is the second oldest of its kind in existence and is also one of the few broker-dealers/FINRA members that are certified as both an SDVOB and as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). Initially, the company employed a workforce of 100% disabled veterans, all of whom were former US Army paratroopers. However, now the firm employs a workforce of 35 personnel, 40% of whom are veterans. AmeriVet Securities, Inc., specializes in a full spectrum of equities and fixed income products, which it provides to a broad spectrum of institutional, corporate, and public clients. AmeriVet’s expertise is in the areas of debt capital markets, equity capital markets, public finance, loan sales, cash management, and investment banking, with dedicated experts in each of these fields.
The firm was founded by Elton Johnson, Jr., who operates as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Growing AmeriVet to the point where it generated over $1 million in revenues in its fifth full year of business with only a handful of employees (after being started on a borrowed $1150 in 1993), Elton was called up for active military service in December 2001 as a result of 9/11 (He was a Major in the US Army Reserve at that time) and spent several years overseas on seven deployments. He became a combat veteran, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan, often with Special Operations units. During this period of time, AmeriVet was inactive due to his active duty military service. AmeriVet Securities has since gone on to sustained growth since its inactive period, and Elton attributes this continued success primarily due to the fact that he and the AmeriVet team have never lost sight of the company’s core mission regarding American veterans: to support the veteran community while, at the same time, building a successful business. Proof that AmeriVet has met with success in achieving its core mission is the fact that AmeriVet Securities, Inc., is the only FINRA member firm that has been awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) HIRE Vets Medallion Award twice. AmeriVet received the US DOL HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award in 2018 and the US DOL HIRE Vets Platinum Medallion Award in 2019. AmeriVet Securities has also received the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Patriotic Employer Award. AmeriVet Securities has won 22 awards/honors over the course of its 26 years in operation, making it the most honored and recognized Service-Disabled Veteran Owned FINRA member firm in the industry. Of the many accomplishments AmeriVet has achieved in the financial services industry, two are most memorable. AmeriVet was the first FINRA member since World War II to operate under wartime conditions due to Elton’s active military duty status during the Global War on Terror. AmeriVet was in a special inactive status for twelve years while Elton was deployed seven times to five different countries as an Airborne Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve (These countries were Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and Kuwait).
AmeriVet was also involved in the MRAP program, which developed Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles via its Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) Department. AmeriVet functioned as the official Financial Advisor/Consultant on the capital raise for Force Protection, Inc., which brought this company out of insolvency, thus allowing it to proceed with the development and production of its Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Since being fielded, MRAP vehicles have saved the lives of thousands of US and Coalition military personnel, including Elton himself, when he served in Afghanistan in 2011 and again in 2013-2014.
Just as important as these notable achievements, the AmeriVet team and the role this team performs as a whole is also vital to the success of the firm, as Elton is quick to point out:
“In order to survive and be successful in this industry, a firm must have people who have initiative (these people are often called “go-getters” or “self-starters”) and are capable of thinking “outside-the-box.” A firm needs people who are not quitters; people who realize that often the most important key to success is the willingness to stick it out until the end. Often, just possessing the strength, determination, and perseverance to stay the course determines success in our industry. One of the biggest challenges AmeriVet faces is to find these people in our industry and make them part of the AmeriVet team. So far, we have done quite well.” Elton also added: “Because so many members of the AmeriVet team are former members of the military, they are very familiar with the team concept and can easily apply what they learned about teamwork in the military to teamwork in the business world. This ability to work as a team enables the AmeriVet team to function smoothly and develop a single-mindedness of purpose regarding the firm’s core mission. This contributes greatly to the success of our firm.”
Lastly, Elton expressed great gratitude to all the individuals and institutions on Wall Street who have supported AmeriVet by directing significant business its way. As he puts it: “Many people say, “Thank you for your service,” but it’s the ones that say “Thank you for your service” by taking action that helps disabled vets like me who are actually the real difference makers in our industry. They, too, are also heroes in my eyes.” (He is referring to all the major Wall Street financial institutions that have started to do business with AmeriVet due to its SDVOB and MBE status).
Meet the leader behind the success of AmeriVet
Elton Johnson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of AmeriVet Securities, Inc., has served in the financial industry since 1977. He has owned and operated AmeriVet Securities, Inc., since the company became a member of the self-regulatory organization now known as the FINRA in 1994. Prior to owning his own stock brokerage company, he worked for several regional brokerage houses including Security Pacific Brokers and Kennedy, Cabot.