The inception of Diversified Trust was inspired by a simple notion which has continued to be our guiding principle — long-term, value-added relationships drive everything.
Our company was founded by a group of successful investors with significant experience as fiduciaries. Larry Bryan had enjoyed a successful career as CFO of a major health system with additional leadership roles in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. During the early 1990s, Larry had a series of conversations about the wealth management and trust industry with Bill Spitz who served as Treasurer and Vice Chancellor for Investments at Vanderbilt University. Bill’s career also included approximately ten years of Wall Street experience, and he had just published a book entitled, Get Rich Slowly, which had enjoyed national acclaim.
Larry and Bill agreed that something was missing in the South within the wealth management and trust industry. Why is access to the best investment solutions and talent generally limited to multi-billion dollar endowments and pensions? Why do many families with accumulated wealth so often receive one-size-fits-all wealth advisory and trust services? Would it be possible to offer a tailored, comprehensive wealth management approach delivered by highly talented local professionals with diverse backgrounds? The genesis of Diversified Trust was formed out of these conversations. The decision was made to launch a trust company which would strive to address those concerns. It would be service-oriented, not product or transaction-oriented. A pledge to clients was written which remains intact today. The mission was simple – to handle our clients’ financial affairs with the same care as we handle our own.
Bill and Larry invited a select group of others to form Diversified Trust, including Hal Daughdrill and Sam Graham. Diversified Trust opened its doors in January, 1994 in Memphis and subsequently expanded with offices in Nashville, Atlanta, and Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2004, the company became 100% employee-owned after surpassing the $1 billion client assets milestone the previous year. An emphasis on broad employee ownership continues to foster a culture of dedicated, high quality service by owners and a focus on doing what is best for clients over the long term.
Since the company’s inception, Diversified Trust has grown primarily through word of mouth referrals and now has client assets under management in excess of $5 billion and more than 80 employees. Today the company is among the largest independently owned, comprehensive wealth management companies in the country. However, we do not measure our success by size, but rather by the results we deliver and the beneficial relationships we enjoy with our clients.