Sunday, April 21, 2024

CapTrust parent tops list of state’s biggest money managers

It was a solid year for the state’s money-management industry, particularly for the biggest players, according to Business North Carolina’s third annual ranking of companies that oversee at least $1 billion in assets. Ten of the 20 largest firms reported greater gains in assets under management than the 22% gain registered in 2017 by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, a common measure of investment performance. Another five companies had increases of 10% or more, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The two biggest players accounted for most of the gains, with top-ranked Raleigh-based CapFinancial Partners LLC continuing its rapid growth. The parent of CapTrust now manages more than $270 billion, marking a 57% increase over the last two years related to investment gains and acquisitions.

The data is based on the most recent required reports filed by the companies, plus other details compiled by BrightScope Inc., a San Diego-based research company. The list cites the biggest North Carolina-based managers based on assets under management, or AUM. Most of the companies invest in stocks and bonds, though the list includes a few private-equity groups that snap up stakes in private companies. Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and other dominant out-of-state managers are not included.

In a March recap of its 2017 fiscal year, CapTrust said it added 128 workers — it now employs 433. The company, which has acquired 28 adviser practices since 2005, is owned by 267 employee shareholders, who have benefited from an annual investment return of more than 25% since 2005.

The second-biggest manager, Barings LLC, grew by 10% to a reported $241 billion in assets under management. It is part of a much larger company, Springfield, Mass.-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. Charlotte-based Barings moved in March to a new downtown headquarters building developed by a partnership including MassMutual.

Other fast growers include three Charlotte-based managers: Alumina Investment Management LLC has doubled to $8.4 billion in AUM in the last two years; Independent Advisor Alliance LLC has tripled to $3.1 billion in the same period; while Carroll Financial Associates Inc. reported a 39% gain last year and now oversees $2.5 billion.

The biggest decliners were Charlotte-based Corrum Capital Management LLC, which said it manages $1 billion, down from $1.7 billion a year earlier, and Chapel Hill-based Morgan Creek Capital Management LLC, down by $900 million to $1.8 billion. Morgan Creek founder Mark Yusko, who has long favored alternative investments, is looking to rebound with a new fund dedicated to cryptocurrencies (“N.C. companies bet on blockchain”).

Overall, the 36 companies on the list manage nearly $690 billion in assets for individuals, pension funds, endowments and others.

Billions club

Largest registered investment and mutual-fund advisers based in N.C.
Assets under management (billion)

CapFinancial Partners LLC, Raleigh

Owns CapTrust, which has 35 offices; revenue increased 24% in 2017.

$274  |  $61B up 29%

Barings LLC, Charlotte

Moved into new HQ, combined in 2016 with other MassMutual units.

$241   |   $21B  up 10%

Sterling Capital Management LLC, Charlotte

BB&T owns more than 75%; Alexander McAllister is president.

$55.9   |   $4.3B up 8%

Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors LLC, Charlotte

Owned by London’s Aon PLC; acts as a record keeper for retirement plans.

$23.8   |   $7.3B up 44%

Wedge Capital Management LLP, Charlotte

The investment adviser, formed in 1984, is owned by 12 general partners.

$13   |   $0.4B up 3%

Global endowment Management LP, Charlotte

Clients are mainly nonprofits including universities and foundations.

$8.3   |   $0.7B  up 9%

Alumina Investment Management LLC, Charlotte

Greg Kares owns more than 75% of firm, which employs four staffers.

$8.3   |   $1.8B up  28%

Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC, Durham

Employee-owned firm opened in 2000 and manages about 50 accounts.

$6.8  |  $0.6B up 10%

Wells Fargo Investment Institute Inc., Charlotte

Wells Fargo owns 74%; Darrell Cronk is president.

$6.4  |  $2.5B up 64%

Horizon Investments LLC, Charlotte

Robbie Cannon, the company’s CEO since 1999, owns 65%.

$3.2  |  $0.3B up 10%

Independent Advisor Alliance LLC, Charlotte

Broker-dealer led by Robert Russo has tripled in size over the last two years.

$3.1  |  $1.1B up 55%

Adhesion Wealth Advisor Solutions LLC, Charlotte

Led by CEO Michael Stier, the firm offers tech services to registered advisers.

$3.0  |  $0.3B up 11%

Ridgemont Partners Management LLC, Charlotte

Private-equity group closed on a $320 million energy fund in November.

$2.7  |  $0.4B up 17%

Parsec Financial Management Inc., Asheville

Acquired Asheville-based Burlingham and Harris CPA firm in January.

$2.6  |  $0.6B up 30%

Carroll Financial Associates Inc., Charlotte

Larry Carroll started the business in 1980. His son, Kris, owns 87%.

$2.5  |  $0.7B up 39%

Pamlico Capital, Charlotte

Private-equity group sold its Alabama-based TekLinks telecom firm in June.

$2.3  |  $0.8B up 53%

Truebridge Capital Partners, Chapel Hill

Private-equity company formed in 2007 closed its fifth fund in February.

$2.2  |  $0.1B up 5%

Franklin Street Advisors Inc., Chapel Hill

Robert Eubanks founded the business in 1990; Robert Newell is CEO.

$2.2  |  $0.4B up 22%

Fortigent LLC, Fort Mill, S.C./Charlotte

LPL Financial owns 83% of the company, which it acquired in 2012.

$2.1  |  $0.0 no change

Novaquest Capital Management LLC, Raleigh

Raised $747 million this year to invest in health care companies.

$1.9  |  $0.4B up  27%

Morgan Creek Capital Management LLC, Chapel Hill

Assets under management have declined by $1.5 billion since 2016.

$1.8  |  ($0.9B) down 33%

Verger Capital Management LLC, Winston-Salem

Wake Forest University owns 63%; James Dunn is CEO.

$1.7  |  $0.3B up 21%

Eton Advisors Group LLC, Chapel Hill

Founders sold business to New York-based Focus Financial Partners last year.

$1.6  |  $0.0 no change

Salem Investment Counsel0rs Inc., Winston-Salem

Formed in 1979; 97% of ownership is split among six partners.

$1.6  |  $0.3B up 23%

Bragg Financial Advisors Inc., Charlotte

The three sons of founder J. Frank Bragg Jr. own 81% of equity.

$1.6  |  $0.3B up 23%

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC, Asheville

Part of the largest Southeast-based CPA firm; operates in eight states.

$1.5  |  $0.0 no change

Hayden Royal LLC, Charlotte

Founder Craig Cmiel was dismissed without explanation in November.

$1.5  |  $0.5B up 50%

Gordon Asset Management LLC, Durham

Principal owner Joe Gordon founded the business in 2001.

$1.5  |  $0.3B up 25%

Comperio Retirement Consulting Inc., Cary

Founder James Sotell, a former Fidelity Investments executive, owns 91%.

$1.4  |  ($0.5B) down 26%

Delegate Advisors LLC, Chapel Hill

Partners Robert Borden and Andrew Hart opened the company in 2010.

$1.4  |  ($0.5B) down 26%

Carolinas Investment Consulting LLC, Charlotte

President and founder George Edmiston Jr. owns 91%.

$1.4  |  $0.1B up 8%

Colony Family Offices LLC, Charlotte

Managing Director Eric Dean Ridenour owns 71%.

$1.4  |  $0.1B  up 8%

Smith, Salley & Associates LLC, Greensboro

Gregory Smith and Mackay Salley formed company in 2003.

$1.3  |  $0.1B up 8%

Biltmore Family Office LLC, Charlotte

Six partners include CEO Chris Cecil and head of investments Rael Gorelick.

1.3  |  ($0.1)  down 7%

Boys, Arnold & Co. Inc., Asheville

Waring Boys formed company in 1977; Tommy Arnold joined in 1983.

$1.1  |  $0.1B  up 10%

Corrum Capital Management LLC, Charlotte

Jason Cipriani and Jonathan Mandle own 97% of the hedge-fund company.

$1.0  |  ($0.7B) down 41%


Click here to see a PDF of the list

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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