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3 Largest Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in North Carolina

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Registered investment advisors continue to experience growth in nearly every metric, with a record number of firms, employment, client demand, and increased assets under management, according to recent reports. To shine a light on the growing RIA landscape, FINTRX explores three of the largest registered investment advisors (RIAs) based in North Carolina. 


1. CapFinancial Partners, LLC (CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, LLC) = ~$450B+ in AUM

Founded in 1989, CapFinancial Partners, LLC - now doing business as CAPTRUST Financial Advisors LLC - is one of the largest independent retirement plan and investment advisory firms in the country based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The origin of CAPTRUST dates back to 1986, when Fielding Miller began his career in the financial services industry as a stockbroker with Interstate/Johnson Lane.

As a broker, Miller grew dissatisfied with the conflicts of interest observed in client relationships, which led him to develop a new client offering based on providing fee-based advice. Miller brought on David Perkins as a partner, and together they worked to take the innovative fee-based advisory approach to the market. Their commitment to ensuring complete objectivity in all client interactions provided the foundation upon which CAPTRUST has developed from an entrepreneurial startup to one of the nation’s largest independent advisory firms.

CAPTRUST began with $2.5 million in revenue and $400 million in AUM. A decade after its creation, CAPTRUST reaches 25 branch offices and its goal of $100 million in annual revenue. The firm offers wealth management, corporate benefits planning, and retirement consulting services to individuals, high-net-worth individuals, foundations, and endowments. CAPTRUST's overarching mission is to enrich the lives of children in the communities it serves.

- Founded: 1989
- Headquarters: Raleigh, NC
- Discretionary Assets: ~$59.7B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: ~$390.2B+
- Total AUM: ~$450B+
- Specialties: Retirement plan advisory services, investment advisory, discretionary investment management, financial & estate planning, fee benchmarking, participant education & advice, and fiduciary process management


2. Barings, LLC = ~$277.49B+ in AUM

With roots dating back to 1989, Barings LLC is a global investment manager sourcing differentiated opportunities and building long-term portfolios across public and private fixed income, real estate, and specialist equity markets. With investment professionals based in North America, Europe, and Asia, the firm, a subsidiary of MassMutual, aims to serve its clients, communities, and employees and commits to sustainable practices and responsible investment.

Barings, LLC was formed in 2016 when four affiliate firms from the MassMutual family came together to create one of the world’s leading asset management and capital solutions providers. In 2018, Barings became a member of the UN Global Compact to support the UN's sustainable development goals, ultimately strengthening the firm's social impact focus. A year later, the firm launched 'Barings Social Impact', an associate-led philanthropic and community service initiative.

Barings leverages its depth and breadth of expertise across the global fixed income, equity, real estate, and alternative asset markets. The firm's global presence across traditional and alternative asset classes provides its clients the opportunity to earn risk-adjusted returns that may not be available using traditional benchmark-based strategies. Barings investment team comprises professionals from both the banking and asset management sectors, with over two decades of experience in private placement activity.

- Founded: 2016 (with roots dating back to 1989 and beyond)
- Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
- Discretionary Assets: ~$275.95B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: ~$1.54B+
- Total AUM: ~$277.49B+
- Specialties: Public and private fixed income, real estate, ESG, private credit, emerging markets, and equity markets


3. Sterling Capital Management, LLC  = ~$70.1B+ in AUM

Founded in 1970, Sterling Capital Management, LLC is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based registered investment advisor with additional offices in Raleigh, NC; Washington, DC; Richmond, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; Jupiter, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and San Francisco, CA. The firm is an independently operated subsidiary of Truist Financial Corporation, offering shared resources, financial stability, and support. Today, Sterling Capital Management has grown and become full service, offering investment management services in a variety of formats, including mutual fund, SMA, and UMA model delivery.

Sterling provides investment management services to a diversified group of clients, including corporate, public, healthcare, private clients, endowment, foundation, insurance, sub-advisory, and managed investment pools. Its customized and mutual fund-managed investments cover a range of strategic asset categories. Options include taxable and tax-exempt fixed income portfolios, multi-class equity portfolios, and comprehensive solutions through our Advisory Solutions team. Above all else, Sterling aims to provide long-term consistent investment performance and exceptional client service. 

- Founded: 1970
- Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
- Discretionary Assets: ~$69.5B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: ~$595.6M+
- Total AUM: ~$70.1B+
- Specialties: Institutional equity, institutional fixed income, mutual funds, fixed-income funds, advisory solutions models, separately managed accounts, and fixed income separately managed accounts 


RIA Review

A registered investment advisor (RIA) is any firm advising or managing the wealth of high-net-worth individuals or institutions. Directly regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), RIAs offer a wide range of financial services — from wealth and investment management to direct lending and personal finance education, etc. An important distinction regarding RIAs is the fiduciary obligation to always act in the best interest of their clients.


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