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Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR) is an American asset management and financial planning company founded in 1937. It is a publicly traded company as of 1998, with its headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. It operates asset management and distribution subsidiaries, including Ivy Investment Management Company and Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company.
The company distributes products through three primary channels, the Advisors channel (a network of personal financial advisors around the country); the Wholesale channel (unaffilated broker/dealers, registered investment advisors and retirement platforms); and the Institutional channel (pension plans, defined benefit plans and endowments).
The company traces its history to September 3, 1937 when it was founded by Chauncey Waddell and Cameron Reed. The company was one of the first to sell funds following the Investment Company Act of 1940. Two of its funds—United Income Fund and United Accumulative Fund—were among the first mutual funds in the United States. Its first offices were in department stores. Continental Investment Corporation of Boston bought Waddell & Reed for $82.5 million in 1969. Liberty National Insurance Holding Company, later renamed Torchmark Corporation acquired it for $160 million in 1981. Torchmark spun it off in 1998 in a deal where for 10 Torchmark shares held, Torchmark shareholders 3 shares of Waddell & Reed.
According to a Chicago Mercantile Exchange document obtained by Reuters, exchange officials focused on futures transactions made by Waddell & Reed during the May 6, 2010 flash crash because it sold 75,000 E-mini S&P on that day, the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped at least 7% in about 15 minutes. However, an exchange spokesman would not confirm the document. Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in testimony before Congress said one sale was indeed large, but did not say who executed the trade. He said the CFTC had no evidence that the trader "did anything wrong." Waddell & Reed has denied being the cause of this stock market crash.