Decatur Capital Management, formerly Cornerstone Asset Management, is an employee-owned, SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The firm was founded by Degas A. Wright, CFA and Ralph J. Bryant, CPA and began operations in 2000.

The genesis for the firm actually began several years earlier. While serving as treasurer for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and a member of MARTA’s pension committee, Degas was curious about drivers of the market. As many of the investment managers he met with could not provide satisfactory answers to his questions, he began in earnest to research the market. After several years and many late nights, Degas developed an investment thesis. However, without any direct investment industry experience, it was not clear how he could he start an investment firm.

At the same time, Ralph was managing an accounting practice. Ralph had worked with Degas at a consulting firm in the early 1990’s, and Ralph and Degas had developed a friendship over the years. Naturally, Degas turned to Ralph for advice on establishing a business. Degas and Ralph soon realized that with their combined skills, expanding Ralph’s accounting practice into asset management was a logical step.

By building upon the success of Ralph’s accounting practice, Degas could now launch the asset management firm that he had envisioned. Degas’s and Ralph’s first office space was 550 square feet with two small offices in a walk-up two story condominium office building. Thus, in June 2000, with zero assets under management and at the height of the technology bubble, Cornerstone Asset Management began operations.

Ralph deftly managed the firm’s finances, while Degas worked on the investment thesis and developed the firm’s quantitative approach to evaluating a firm’s fundamental ratios and potential for stock price appreciation. The term ‘lean’ is far too generous to describe the early years. Based on their unwavering faith, though, Ralph and Degas eked out an existence from accounting assignments and consulting work. Then the tech bubble popped!

At the time, Degas was convinced that the firm’s quantitative approach would work even in a declining market. He shared with several prospects the firm’s investment approach. In March 2002, Decatur Capital Management began managing its first institutional client.

Since that first institutional client, the firm went through a name change and moved its offices. In 2005, the firm was starting to get calls from consultants who were interested in the firm’s strong investment performance. The problem was that the consultants would often ask whether or not the firm was affiliated with some other ‘Cornerstone’ capital. The partners soon discovered that there were 70 plus other ‘Cornerstone’ SEC registered investment advisory firms across the U.S. As it is difficult enough to stand out in the industry, the firm did not need to confuse consultants and potential clients with a common name. The principals researched various names and, based on the advice of a trusted friend of the firm, decided on Decatur Capital. After all, Decatur is where the principals raised their families; it is home. The firm registered Decatur Capital Management with the SEC in January 2006.

Looking back, Ralph, Degas, and Decatur Capital have been mentored and guided by many friends and supporters in the industry. They are truly grateful for the unselfish assistance they have received over the years. They believe they have an obligation to pass on this generosity.