Boutique investment firm Hardesty Capital Management moved this month from its longtime home in Mount Vernon to a new office in Hunt Valley, which it said offers more modern conveniences and room to grow, while being closer to its customer base of wealthy Maryland families.
The firm has looked to add clients, even as the rising stock market has helped drive its assets under management to more than $900 million, a record for the business.
President Chad Meyer, who was hired as chief marketing officer last year, said the 14-person firm is looking to hire more people on the investment side to handle the increased funds, as well as staff that would help bring in business from other parts of Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.
"We've been doing this a long time and we've never really had an effort to tell our story. That's what we're starting to do," Meyer said. "I am definitely seeing the story being well received, which gives me more confidence in our future growth. With that, I think we're getting more confident to start hiring others."
Hardesty Capital Management started in 1995 with two people and just over $100 million in assets under management, operating from the historic Latrobe Building at Charles and Read streets. It most recently occupied just over 5,000 square feet, Meyer said.
The new 5,765-square-foot International Drive space has room for the firm to add about seven people to its payroll, he said. Hardesty signed a 10-year lease for the space, he said.
The Hunt Valley offices are more accessible for visits from clients, many of whom live outside the city, both because of location and available parking, Meyer said.
"Baltimore County is a tremendous home base for investment firms and financial institutions. We welcome Hardesty to Hunt Valley," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement.
Chief Investment Officer David Stepherson, who lives in Howard County and has been with the firm since 1999, said the move will add to his commute, but the new offices have the bandwidth capacity to allow him to work from home some of the time.
"Mount Vernon is just a great neighborhood. ... There's no question we're going to miss that, but we just needed more modern space," Stepherson said. "It's worth coming here and driving that much farther for a nice building as well," he said, adding after a beat: "I'm sure the bloom will come off that rose."
Stepherson said the firm, which focuses on buying stocks it considers undervalued, has looked increasingly at larger technology and energy companies, as low interest rates have pushed more investors to look at stocks like utilities and real estate investment trusts, pushing up prices in those areas.
"There are always areas of the market that aren't doing as well," he said.