Investor Spotlight: Man from Atlanta leads the way

Kathleen Sullivan reports on Charles Brady's Amvescap, the stock market star of 1997

CHARLES Brady entered the investment business in 1964 hoping to drag a little New York money south. These days the Amvescap chairman has managers in so many time zones that he has to wake up at 4 am to talk to them all at once.

With a mix of collegiality and ambition fostered in his hometown of Atlanta, the 62-year-old Brady transformed a small investment unit for a regional bank into the world's 12th big- gest fund manager with more than $160bn (pounds 97bn) in assets. Amvescap was the best-performing stock in London in 1997, more than doubling to 523p from 258.5p.

"It's impossible to talk to the company's fund managers without sensing his presence," said Peter Jeffreys, managing director of Standard & Poor's Fund Research in London. "He's intent on growth and doesn't seem to be tired. He's a tremendously effective figurehead."

Some stiff tests still lie ahead for Brady after Invesco bought Aim Management Group, the Houston-based manager, for $2.2bn last February and merged the two companies into Am-vescap. He faces the challenge of building an international business while preserving the company's legendary esprit de corps.

Brady himself embodies the mix of worldliness and regional flavour that he is seeking to foster at Amvescap. Although he travels every six weeks to London or Tokyo, he does much of his administration from an office in Atlanta, where he is - as he puts it - "that rare thing, a native."

The only child of a General Electric worker, he went to public schools within city limits, earning a degree in industrial management from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1957.

Brady is still young looking for his years - a true Southerner in style, dressing elegantly but unpretentiously. He bears other hallmarks of the region, from the cottony Georgia accent to the talent for knowing a good story and how to tell it - for example, the well-known tale of how he got hired to run Citizens & Southern Bank's investment unit.

A regional institution but hardly parochial, C&S was the first bank to introduce a credit card and one of the first to use computers and automatic tellers. In 1964, president Mills B Lane Jr decided it was time to lure corporate pension money south from the north-east money centres. Tired of being a stockbroker, Brady went to see Lane, who handed him a psychological test. Brady answered 25 questions ("stuff like whether I'd rather be a parrot or a rabbit"), stood in line (Lane saw everyone on a first-come, first-serve basis), and watched while Lane "graded" his test. "Go tell them you're going to run this investment unit," Lane said.

The unit, which became Invesco after its members bought it from the bank in 1978, adopted the bank's tradition of making a virtue of its regional status.

After more than a decade, Invesco finally won over the likes of AT&T and Texaco, excelling among US money managers of the 1980s. Following its success, the company was drawn to become a global manager and in 1986 became part of MIM, the UK fund management company run by David Stevens, better known as the chairman of the Express newspaper group.

The US business, however, quickly took centre stage as assets under management there grew much faster than in the UK.

MIM then faced a series of problems culminating in its involvement in the Maxwell scandal for its management of the Mirror Group pension scheme. Stevens left in 1992, and Brady took over, still ambitious to realise his global vision. Since Stevens quit, Invesco's shares have gone up from 60p to more than 500p.

In the first nine months of 1997, the global division accounted for just 15.3 per cent of revenue and 4.7 per cent of operating profit. That now modest segment is the future, Brady says, and he plans to build the international business much the same way as he built the C&S unit - from the ground up. "The idea is to raise local money and invest it in that country with local managers," Brady said.

Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

News
people
Sport
Yaya Sanogo celebrates scoring the opening goal with Arsenal's English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
champions leagueLive: All the latest from the Emirates and Bulgaria, where Liverpool face Ludogorets
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manchester, £18k

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HRO - £70k+ ote

£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...

Citifocus Ltd: Newly Qualified Accountants - Risk Mgmt

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...

Citifocus Ltd: Operational Risk Analyst

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire