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Asset Ascent: Three Investment Firms See 40%+ Asset Growth

3 min read

Three traditional registered investment advisory firms generated 40%-plus growth of assets under management in this year’s list of largest money managers.

The biggest of the bunch is Legacy Capital Wealth Partners (No. 7), which nearly doubled its $560 million total in 2022. The Little Rock firm’s almost 82.5% climb propelled it beyond $1 billion this year.

“My goal is $3 billion in three years,” said Matt Jones, the firm’s president.

“I don’t know if we’ll hit that or not, but that’s my goal. It’s not just by legacy business and bringing in new clients. It’s growing our adviser network.”

Earlier this year, Legacy Capital added three staffers from Arvest Wealth Management: Brian Wood, Michael Peebles and DeAnn Gann. They provided the foundation for Legacy’s northwest Arkansas office.

Jones said the Rogers office accounts for $350 million-$400 million of its 2023 growth.

“That was a substantial gain,” he said. “We also had continued success attracting new assets and bringing on new clients.”

Legacy achieved its notable growth despite internal drama that culminated in David Trent exiting the ownership picture. Trent held a 32.8% stake through his Trent Capital Management from the 2020 merger with Legacy Capital.

“His interest has been purchased, and he’s no longer associated with the firm,” Jones said.

That change is the product of an out-of-court settlement reached through mediation. Fired in June as managing partner, Trent sued Legacy Capital in July in Pulaski County Circuit Court, and Legacy Capital countered with claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

More Big Numbers

Little Rock’s BRS Financial (No. 41) recorded a 48.6% increase in assets under management, growing from $76.3 million in 2022 to $113.8 million this year.

Following close behind was Little Rock’s Naviter Wealth, which registered a one-year 40.8% increase in assets under management, from $558 million in 2022 to $785 million. That gain pushed the firm to No. 11 on this year’s list of largest money managers.

But that Sept. 21 total has since topped $1 billion, according to Naviter CEO Bentley Blackmon. The exact figure provided to Arkansas Business on Oct. 17, $1,044,698,000, would rank Naviter Wealth as the seventh-largest.

Blackmon attributed the recent jump to the addition of several large relationships: “When you work with families who’ve accumulated significant wealth, asset growth is lumpy.”

During the second quarter, Naviter opened an office in Rochester, New York. That new team contributed about $180 million to the firm’s total assets under management.

“That’s the only team we added,” Blackmon said. “The remainder is all organic growth. We’re pretty happy about that. We’ve just got our heads down and working hard.”

Managing Directors Richard and Alecia Dougherty lead the Rochester office. They migrated from Echelon Wealth Advisors along with Amanda McIntoch, operations manager, and Amy Zaccaglino, service associate.

In January, Naviter Wealth hired Jackson Ratcliff as managing director in Little Rock.

He came to the company from Stephens Inc., where he was managing director of institutional equity sales.

Natural Funds

North Little Rock’s Natural Capital Management has made its niche building and managing two private funds. The total assets represented by those funds climbed from $43.5 million in 2022 to $145.5 million this year.

Brad Henry, managing partner of Natural Capital Management, said most of the growth is tied to new investors.

“So we’ve grown pretty significantly over the past year or so,” Henry acknowledged.  “We’re different than a typical investment adviser. We only invest in private assets, both companies and real estate.”

The firm has closed five investments in its second fund with an all-northwest Arkansas lineup concentrated on a mix of commercial projects and residential development.

“Our focus is going to stay on northwest Arkansas because we believe the growth will continue to expand,” Henry said.

“That’s going to be our focus area for the next couple years, maybe longer.”

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