President, Curran Investment Management
Curran Advisory Services
Career Began: 1969
Home Base: Albany, N.Y.
Civic Affiliations: Wildwood Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, East Lynne Theater Co.
At an age when many advisors are pondering exit strategies, Tom Curran chose to make a grand entrance instead.
“While a lot of my friends and colleagues were thinking about retiring, I was thinking about how to do something my way,” says Curran, 61. “Over the years, I have often questioned the way financial services are marketed and delivered. I often thought to myself: There has to be a better way. You can’t help but think: How would you do things differently if you were in a position to do it?”
Two years ago, answering his own question, Curran introduced Curran Investment Management, a registered investment advisor, and Curran Advisory Services, a broker/dealer. With $210 million in assets under management, the investment boutique, recognized by Nelson’s World’s Best Money Managers for its equity returns, has offices in Albany, N.Y., Cape May, N.J., and Philadelphia. The Philadelphia office is headed by Curran’s youngest son, Kevin.
“The first challenge was: How do you set all this up? How do you rent the office space? Go about hiring employees and bringing them along? And how do you do it ethically? I was not comfortable doing it behind the scenes, in secret,” says Curran, who calls his split from Wachovia Securities, his former corporate home, “cordial” and a “natural progression.” All 12 of the people who worked for him at Wachovia transitioned to the new firm, as did 97 percent of the group’s assets.
Today, with an average account size of $700,000, Curran Investment Management has positioned itself as a formidable competitor. In just the last year, it has hooked up with a new custodian, Schwab; entered into a strategic alliance with Russell Investment Group, global leaders in multi-manager investing; and inaugurated a wealth management program for women. Not coincidentally, three of the firm’s four senior officers are female.
And then there is this happy math: For the five-year period ended Sept. 30, Curran Investment Management posted an equity return of 5.59 percent, after management fees. That compares to the S&P 500/Citigroup Growth Index, at 3.71 percent.