Brown, Eddie C. 1940–
Eddie C. Brown 1940–
Financial manager, philanthropist
Often referred to as an investment superstar as well as a whiz at picking stocks, Eddie C. Brown heads Brown Capital Management, one of the most successful financial services firms in the United States. Brown began his company out of a home office several years ago, building a national reputation because of his ability to pick stocks, and for his company philosophy of GARP—growth at a reasonable price. When Brown was in school, he planned on attending college. However, in high school, instead of encouraging him to take college preparatory courses, his teachers pushed vocational education classes even though he had excellent grades. The young Brown insisted that industrial arts courses would not get him to where he wanted to be, and at sixteen he graduated from high school as one of the top students in his class.
Brown met and exceeded his goals, and after working for others became his own boss as head of a money-management firm. Known for his successful and conservative securities management, he has appeared on national television, including as a panelist for over 20 years on Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser, a PBS program. His firm manages a portfolio well over $5.6 billion. He and his wife, C. Sylvia Brown, and their daughters, started the Brown Family Foundation in 1994 and are well known for their philanthropy in Maryland. Although Brown and his wife are avid cyclists and enjoy traveling, sitting back and taking it easy after his success has not been a major goal for Brown. He still finds himself compelled to study potential investment markets and is well versed on each one he has considered. In his own estimation, Eddie C. Brown, has done more than meet his own early goals for success, telling the Baltimore Sun that “It has been way above my wildest dreams.”
Brown was born on November 26, 1940 in Apopka, Florida, the son of Annie M. Brown, an unmarried 13-year-old. His grandparents took on the responsibility of raising him, and he grew up in a home without modern conveniences. In an interview with The Sun, Brown related how, when he was nine years old, his grandmother began taking him to the city to show him a way of life that was different from theirs—his grandfather worked in a citrus grove and his grandmother at a plant nursery. She pointed out businessmen in suits and told Brown that school and a good education were his ticket to a job where he would wear a suit and sit behind a desk. And thus began Brown’s quest to attend college. By the time he was thirteen, his grandmother had died and he began living with his mother, who had become a domestic worker in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
When teachers in high school tried to steer him toward vocational education, his mother, along with a family friend, helped him to get into the courses he needed in order to go to college. He attended Howard University, graduating in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. Brown had met Sylvia Thurston at Howard; they married in 1962. He served in the Army Signal Corps from 1961 to 1963.
At a Glance…
Born Eddie C. Brown in 1940 in Apopka, Florida; son of Annie Brown; married C. Sylvia Thurston; children: Tonya Yvonne, Jennifer Lynn. Education: Howard University, B.S.E.E. 1961; New York University, M.S.E.E. 1968; Indiana University, MBA, 1970, CFA 1979; CIC 1979. Military Service: United States Army Signal Corps, first lieutenant 1961-63.
Career; IBM, electrical engineer, 1963-68; money management firm, 1970-73; T. Rowe Price Associates, portfolio manager and vp, 1973-83; Brown Capital Management, founder and president, 1983-.
Memberships: Baltimore Security Analysts Society; Financial Analysts Federated; panelist Wall Street Week; TR Baltimore Community Foundation; The Walters’ Art Gallery; Maryland Economic Development Commission.
Selected Awards: Fellowship Grant Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, 1968; Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser Hall of Fame, 1996.
Addresses: President, Brown Capital Management, Inc., 1201 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
In his first job, Brown worked for IBM as an electrical engineer, designing computer circuits. At the same time, he attended night school in order to earn a Master of Science in electrical engineering from New York University. He received that degree in 1968, the same year he quit his job with IBM to work full time on his MBA from Indiana University School of Business, earning the degree in 1970. Although moving from engineering to finance appeared to be a major career change, Brown explained to U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology, “Engineering was very significant in my career preparation. What I gained in terms of analytical skills and rational thinking translates well into the investment world. Also, since a significant share of investment portfolios go into technical firms, that knowledge gives me an edge.” Brown had become interested in finance and investments during his time at Indiana University. He also realized that it was “Serious money, if you could do it well. It became intriguing to me,” he told Jet. So, in 1979, he added to his other academic degrees the professional designations of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC).
Brown began his investment work with a money management firm in Columbus, Indiana, followed in 1973 with a position of portfolio manager in the Baltimore office of T. Rowe Price Associates. He was the first black money manager to work for the Wall Street firm, and it was there that he began working in corporate pension plans, endowment funds, and foundations, gaining experience in handling accounts worth millions of dollars. Brown worked with T. Rowe Price for ten years, becoming a vice president. During this time he began appearing on Wall Street Week. Despite all his success, Brown’s goal was to be his own boss and start his own investment company. In 1982, with the support of his family, Brown launched his own company.
Beginning with his own savings and an office set up in his home, Brown began work with one assistant. His first goal was to obtain clients, which he did by sending out announcement cards, quickly resulting in business. Brown made a point not to lure clients away from T. Rowe Price. He had figured that he had saved enough money to operate the new business for three years without profit, but the new firm broke even within four months of its start up. Beginning with smaller accounts from individuals, plus managing a company pension fund for a relative, Brown’s company expanded nationally, managing an increasing number of pension and mutual fund accounts. It also gained national recognition, a dozen employees, and management of several retirement accounts, including the $111 billion California Public Employees Retirement fund, and the $100 million pension and retirement fund for the state of Maryland. Brown’s company now manages $5.6 billion and has 22 employees. Brown told The Sun that he would like for daughter Tonya, who holds an MBA from Harvard, to be his successor one day.
In 1994 Brown established the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation. The couple’s daughters, Tonya Ingersol and Jennifer Brown, serve as president and vice president. Brown began the foundation with $300, 000; his goal was to build it to seven figures in a few years. In 2001 the Browns gave $6 million to the Maryland Institute College of Art and created a $1 million endowment at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. In 2002 they gave $5 million for a scholarship program to help middle grade-age African-American youth of Baltimore. Brown was quoted in a Baltimore Community Foundation press release as saying, “Our country is filled with young people who are talented and determined, but lack the support necessary to change the course of their lives.” It wasn’t a simple gift—Brown wanted to help decide how the money would be spent. To do so, the foundation called in a number of Baltimore citizens for insight to the problems and recommendations for the solutions. The scholarship gift was to be managed by the Baltimore Community Foundation. Eddie Brown told Jet magazine, “I know the middle school years are extremely important in terms of developing future aspirations because that’s when I began to dream about what is possible.” Brown’s company reflects his philosophy of giving back to the community in which they achieve success. Eddie C. Brown and his family have personified that philosophy in giving. He told Jet, “We have been extremely blessed. And we truly believe that those who have been blessed should be a blessing to someone.”
During an interview for his Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street newsletter, Rukeyser asked Brown what advice he would give to a young black curious about opportunities in the financial business today. Brown replied, “I think it is a great business to go into. I say money is green. It’s the type of business where minorities can be evaluated on their abilities and their ability to produce results. And it’s been my experience that that’s what counts in this business. And generally speaking, race is a secondary or nonexistent issue. At least, that’s been my experience.”
Jet, March 11, 2002, p. 12.
Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street, February 1996.
The Sun, May 4, 1997.
US Black Engineer & Information Technology, June/July 2001.
Baltimore Community Foundation, www.bcf.org/w_01_08_02.html
Brown Capital Investment, www.browncapital.com
Howard University, www.howard.edu/Charterday2002/EddieBrown.htm
—Sandy J. Stiefer
"Brown, Eddie C. 1940–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/brown-eddie-c-1940
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