Lawson Hembree
Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor
3220 Old Greenwood Road
Fort Smith, AR 72903
Learn more about an advisor's background on
The team is committed to understanding your values and what you want to accomplish with your assets. One-on-one conversations and communication help us get to know who you are and what you and your family want for your individual lifetimes.  We can help you concentrate on pursuing your life goals while also working with you to plan your legacy.

The Lawson Hembree Group

The Lawson Hembree Group advise our clientele of business owners, executives, professionals, retirees and their families, foundations and other non-profit groups. As a wealth management advisory team, we work together with clients to understand their goals for their families and their wealth.  We then collaborate with them and their professional advisors to develop and manage customized strategies to support achieving these goals.

As financial markets have grown and evolved, financial decisions have become increasingly more complex.  Therefore, it is important that clients work with a trusted team of advisors who have knowledge, experience and access to robust research and investment vehicles as well as a broad range of financial strategies.  We feel this approach gives clients the confidence that their goals will be achieved – from funding education expenses, to planning for retirement, from growing a business to selling a business,  from providing for unforeseen events to leaving a philanthropic legacy, we can help you get started today.

H. Lawson Hembree, CPWA  CEPA  
Senior Vice President
Wealth Management Advisor

Lawson joined Merrill in 2009.  His career began in banking and finance working for Citicorp (USA), Inc. and Merchants National Bank.  For the eleven years prior to joining Merrill he was part of several family-owned businesses.  Lawson has a BSA degree from the University of Arkansas and his Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.  He is active in the community serving on the board of John Brown University.  Lawson has previously served in leadership positions on the boards of Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, the Fort Smith United Way, Arkansas Cancer Research Center Foundation Board, the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation Board, the University of Arkansas Alumni Association, Campaign Arkansas for the University of Arkansas, Southern Region, Boy Scouts of America, Mercy Fort Smith Medical Center, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and the Arkansas Angus Association.

Working with business owners, executives, professionals, retirees and their families and foundations, Lawson capitalizes on his own experiences as a business owner as well as his professional training to advise and guide our clients on all aspects of their financial needs.  Lawson feels that the breadth and depth of his financial training combined with his experience as a business owner differentiate him.  It has also given him the experience of working firsthand with a network of professional advisors.  Lawson holds the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designation and the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA®) designation.

Kerry Franklin, CFP® RMA®    
Assistant Vice President
Wealth Planner

Kerry has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Arkansas State University.  She began her career in manufacturing accounting, then as the Business Administrator for a local church in Fort Smith prior to joining Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.  She has served as a volunteer for CASA, Habitat for Humanity, and Children’s Service League.  Among the reasons she chose to join the financial services industry is her desire to help others.  This passion to help stems from her experience and the financial challenges she has watched friends and families experience in the past. As witness to the challenges faced by important people in her life, she recognized the need for a professional and caring team to help others realize the life they want.  Her purpose is to help others define their goals, establish a wealth management strategy centered on their priorities, and then help them to adjust their strategy as needed, as the inevitable changes in life occur.  Kerry is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and holds the Retirement Manager Advisor® designation.

*Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER in the U.S.

Alicia Lester  
Wealth Management Client Associate 
Alicia has more than 10 years of experience working with clients in the financial services industry.  This experience was gained while working with Bank of America in Home Loans, Credit Cards, Deposits, and Fraud before joining Merrill in May of 2019.   Alicia is the point person for our MyMerrill online experience and in helping to make sure all our client’s service requests are met.

Alicia is from Muldrow, Oklahoma.  She enjoys spending time with her family and anything basketball.  She travels often to games to support her family and for entertainment.

About Me

As a Merrill advisor, I offer advice and guidance based on you and your family's goals and priorities. We put you at the center of our focus -- not the markets -- so you can better understand the pros and cons of every decision you make. As your needs or market conditions change, I can work together with you to adjust your plan as needed.

Additional Resources
The following specialists do not make securities recommendations. Please contact your Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor if you have questions about how a specialist might be able to assist you.
Kellen Taylor
Wealth Management Banking Specialist
Daniel Scalley
Wealth Strategies Advisor
Bank of America, N.A.
Joshua H Jasien
Market Linked Investments Specialist
Bank of America, N.A.
About Merrill

Bringing fresh perspectives to your financial life

The financial decisions you make today can help determine the future you build for yourself and your family. Carving a clear path forward starts with connecting your life and finances. A Merrill advisor provides access to the investing insights of Merrill and banking capabilities of Bank of America to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your goals.

Sign Up for Perspectives Monthly E-Newsletter
Get the latest investment insights, tips and strategies to help you live your best financial life
Sign Up
Hugh Hembree is registered to do business in AR, CA, FL, GA, ID, KS, LA, MI, MN, MO, NC, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT.
Investments & Wealth Institute™ (The Institute) is the owner of the certification marks CPWA® and Certified Private Wealth Advisor®. Use of CPWA®, and/or Certified Private Wealth Advisor® signifies that the user has successfully completed the Institute’s initial and ongoing credentialing requirements for wealth advisors.