Money may move around the globe at the speed of light these days, but the ranks of the largest investment companies based in North Carolina are remarkably stable. Business North Carolina’s ranking of firms that each oversee more than $1 billion in assets shows very little change from a similar list we researched two years ago.
Our list is dominated by two large companies, which make up more than 75% of the total assets under management of the 36 listed firms. Raleigh-based CapFinancial Partners owns Captrust, which added $51 billion under management in 2019 as it bought more closely held investment firms in major U.S. cities. And Charlotte-based mutual fund adviser Barings, which is owned by the MassMutual insurance firm, added $35 billion last year, according to government filings.
The data is based on the companies’ most recent government reports and additional information from San Diego-based research firm BrightScope. The list cites assets under management, or AUM, as of Dec. 31, 2019, which we compared with year-earlier filings. Most of the companies invest in stocks and bonds, though the list includes a few private equity groups and those focused on other alternative investments. Large asset managers based outside of North Carolina, such as Morgan Stanley and Fidelity Investments, are not included.
The strong stock market helped fuel growth at 31 of the 36 firms, though the story changed in late February as the public health crisis depressed most investment sectors. Those reversals aren’t reflected in this list.
One big departure is Durham’s Piedmont Investment Advisors, which ranked No. 8 previously. It was acquired by Philadelphia-based FIS Group in May 2018 and rebranded to Xponance in April. It maintains a Durham office and had $9.5 billion in AUM as of Feb. 29.
Among the firms adding the most assets were Global Endowment Management, which specializes in working with universities and foundations; Alumina Investment Management, which former Wells Fargo and Carlyle Group manager Greg Kares has expanded by nearly 50% to $9.6 billion in AUM since 2016, and Independent Advisor Alliance, a broker-dealer that has quintupled in size since 2016. Among the few decliners was Wedge Capital Management, which ranks No. 5 with $11 billion.
Among the new names on the list are Cornerstone Advisors of Asheville and Novare Capital Management of Charlotte. Founder Ralph Bradshaw, a specialist in closed-end mutual fund investing, leads Cornerstone, which reported $1.2 billion under management. Novare was co-founded by William Baynard Jr. and Don Olmstead in 1999. It also has $1.2 billion in AUM and 18 employees.
Chapel Hill-based TrueBridge Capital had an impressive fundraising amid the pandemic. Founded in 2007, the firm collected $190 million in April for a venture capital fund targeting growth-stage technology companies.