Nottingham marks 30 years of hometown success
From Contributed Reports
Monday, November 5, 2018
Nottingham has proven that a cutting-edge financial services back office can operate successfully far from Wall Street.
Based in downtown Rocky Mount, Nottingham celebrated its 30th year of investment fund operations in August.
“A good friend told me a few weeks ago that the local breakfast gossip clubs said ‘Nottingham will never last,’” founder and CEO Kip Meadows said. “It is somewhat gratifying to be able to prove the naysayers wrong and do what we do here at home. An expert isn’t necessarily someone from out of town with a briefcase.”
The company began in the late 1980s, rising to satisfy a need in the investment advisory community. Investment advisory firms were becoming commonplace at that time, with many firms sprouting from bank trust departments that were the predominate investment managers throughout most of the 20th century.
Principals of the new independent investment advisory firms wanted a solution to the cumbersome task of administering hundreds of separately managed accounts.
Meadows called on the trusts and estates legal expertise of his father to examine possible alternatives. Eventually, SEC-registered mutual funds were decided upon as the preferred vehicle. Nottingham registered its first three funds in 1988.
The company has since expanded into other types of investment funds.
In 1995, Nottingham organized an early hedge fund in partnership with Sir John Templeton of mutual fund fame. Nottingham was also selected by an investment consulting firm in Atlanta to handle all operations for several groups of Catholic hospitals consolidating their operations in the late 1990s.
First Union called upon Nottingham to provide back-office support for several government investment pools for which First Union and later Wachovia and Wells Fargo were managing fixed income portfolios. These government investment vehicles have been a significant backbone of Nottingham operations since 2000.
As investment vehicles have evolved, Nottingham has evolved to handle them, including closed end interval funds and the ability to organize and administer ETFs as of 2017. At present, the firm handles approximately $26 billion in assets under administration, having organized well over 200 funds. According to Institutional Investor, Nottingham is the largest privately owned fund administration firm based in the U.S.
Nottingham has maintained its commitment to Rocky Mount, turning down several opportunities to sell the firm, with primary interest coming from non-U.S. based fund administration firms seeking a foothold in the U.S.
“It has always come down to a concern that the operations would be moved out of Eastern North Carolina,” Meadows said.
Nottingham President Kate Honey feels a primary company strength is its local team.
“There are not many firms that can offer natives of this area a place to return after college to be involved with a work environment of this type,” she said. “It is special to have a New York level of sophistication without what you have to give up from the quality of life we have here.”