Capital Investment Companies, the largest independent broker-dealer in the Carolinas, has named a new president and has launched a new index of Carolina stocks aimed at gauging the health of the region’s economy.
Ben Brooks, 54, who joined the Raleigh-based firm in 2001 and most recently was director of wealth management, was promoted to the role of president in charge of day-to-day operations as of Aug. 1.
Co-founder Richard Bryant remains as CEO and said in an interview at the company’s headquarters on Six Forks Road that he is focusing on “the big picture” and recruiting new financial advisers.
Capital is a broker-dealer whose network of about 210 financial advisers in 15 states are independent contractors who rely on the company to process transactions and ensure compliance with complex securities regulations. A majority of the firm’s offices operate under the Capital brand, with the others operating under a variety of names.
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The privately owned company, established in 1984, has nearly $4 billion in assets under management, including close to $1 billion in wealth management, and boasts that it has been profitable every year of its existence.
Bryant praised Brooks’ business acumen and his wealth of experience at different companies, which includes a stint as CEO of Marion Bass Securities until it was sold in 2001.
Brooks also is founding partner of Southern Capitol Ventures, a Raleigh venture capital fund that raised a total of nearly $20 million from investors for its two funds. The second fund made the last of its initial investments in startups about three years ago. When it was in investment mode, Brooks was splitting his time evenly between the two businesses.
Bryant said of the promotion of Brooks, whom he has known since they were both college students at N.C. State University: “It was just time for renewed energy.”
“I’m not tired. I’m not going anywhere,” Bryant, 57, added. “My dad just retired at 94 years old because he couldn’t drive anymore.”
Brooks said the business will especially benefit from Bryant’s ability to focus more attention on recruiting.
“He’s the best recruiter I have ever come across in the industry,” Brooks said. “He’s a financial adviser’s adviser.”
Capital generated approximately $30 million in revenue last year. In recent years its annual growth has slowed to “a couple percent,” down from about 10 percent in 2013 and 2013, Brooks said. He and Byant said the business climate has been challenging as a result of the regulatory environment, a squeeze on commissions and other factors.
Still, Brooks is intent on pumping up revenue growth.
“Our goal would probably be over the next five years to build to $35 million, $40 million in revenue,” he said.
Capital is co-launching The Carolinas Index in conjunction with Nottingham, a Rocky Mount company that provides infrastructure and back-office operations for investment funds.
The index of 75 stocks in the Carolinas with a market capitalization of more than $250 million is “purely for informational purposes,” said Brooks, who is hoping it will help differentiate the business from its competitors. The index is designed to answer the question: How are we doing as a region?
The answer this year is that the index had risen 7.8 percent through Monday, which is roughly on par with the performance of the S&P 500.