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Omaha Magazine

Bridges Trust

Mar 29, 2022 03:53PM ● By Megan Bartholomew

The tagline for privately owned trust and wealth management firm Bridges Trust is “Trust for generations.” It’s fitting in the sense that Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer Edson L. “Ted” Bridges III is the third generation of leadership. Bridges said the company also serves many families multigenerationally and sets up clients for future generations.

“The firm was started by my grandfather in 1945, and I would expect that we will be here in 2045 and 2075. We are focused on the future and we are focused to grow and be a strong resource for the community,” Bridges explained. “We’re vibrant and we’re growing, and we’re trying to leverage that growth by reinvesting back into the business for future growth.”

The executive leadership team includes Bridges, President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Wilwerding, and Senior Vice President Megan McMurray. The firm is also developing leadership with an eye to the future.

“We are blessed to have an extremely strong group of emerging young leaders at the firm including Jack Holmes, Jennie Hudnall, Brenda Keady, Meg Knauf, Kelly Leeper, Brian Miles, Angel Sacco, Jenny Strako, Dan Walker, and Lisa Wellendorf,” Bridges said. “They work extremely well together and are exceptionally talented.”

The firm employs more than 60 and manages about $9 billion in client assets for approximately 700 client relationships.

“Bridges Trust exists to meet the financial needs of its clients, primarily through helping clients identify and articulate what their primary investment objectives are, and then building out investment policy that is designed to effectuate those objectives,” Bridges said. “We also provide the portfolio management—the investment management—of those clients’ capital to make those objectives be a reality over time.”

Since its founding, the firm has also built a suite of multiple wealth advisory services around its core of investment management, including wealth planning, trust and estate management, family office services, and philanthropic consulting.

“We have trust powers so that we can provide trust and estate services for our clients. Family office provides broader and deeper services ancillary to investment management. One of the fastest-growing areas of the firm is philanthropy services. Many of our families are very charitable and they look to us to help them develop ways to give back that are as effective as the ways we have helped them create the wealth in the first place,” Bridges said. “Ultimately, our assets are our people, and because we are a people-based and service-based business, the culture of our firm is absolutely critical to the success of what we undertake.”

To support that culture, Bridges Trust strives to build a team of people who have very specific attributes in three areas—core investment management, client service and operations, Bridges said. These include “a heart to serve others, because we’re in the service business; we need people who have extremely high professional skills and experience, because we’re asking people to trust us with their money and invest in capital markets that are extremely risky and challenging; and the third cultural attribute is a very high and diligent work ethic.”