Investment firm plans to expand into Chattanooga

Investment firm plans to expand into Chattanooga

November 30th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

An investment group started a decade ago in Georgia by former SunTrust Bank portfolio managers is opening a Chattanooga office with the aid of another former SunTrust wealth manager.

Patton Albertson & Miller (PAM), which currently operates offices in Atlanta and Macon, Ga., and in Winston-Salem, N.C., has hired veteran Chattanooga banker Ricky Supan to help staff its first Tennessee office targeted at providing financial planning and investment advice for wealthy individuals.

PAM is opening a temporary office at 535 Chestnut St. in downtown Chattanooga while its permanent office in the Liberty Tower at Sixth and Chestnut streets is built.

"We feel like Chattanooga is a very strategic location for us," said Jimmy Patton, the 54-year-old managing principal of the firm who is relocating from Macon to Chattanooga to help with the firm's newest venture. "It's a growing city and we feel like with hiring Ricky Supan who has worked in Chattanooga, we have a recipe for success."

Supan is a Chattanooga native who previously worked as a portfolio manager at SunTrust's private wealth group for 11 years. He said PAM is focused on individualized service and personalized investment strategies.

"Being in Chattanooga and from Chattanooga, I think we can deliver some services locally that others are moving out of market," he said.

Patton, a former market president for SunTrust Bank in Macon, joined with two other SunTrust bankers in 2003 to start a small boutique wealth management firm in Macon and Atlanta. The other partners are Mark Albertson, who previously headed the trust and investment services department for SunTrust in Macon, and Bill Miller, previously a portfolio manager for SunTrust in Atlanta.

"The three of us thought there was an opportunity to deliver a higher level of personal service so we headed out the door on March 1, 2003 and we've never looked back," Patton said. "We've been very successful and I think the market has confirmed our decision and the way we do business."

Over the past nine years, the firm has grown to manage $480 million in investments from about 325 different clients.

Supan said the ideal client has $1 million or more to invest. PAM develops portfolios for each investor and puts money only in marketable securities to maintain liquidity for such investments.

"With larger institutions moving toward centralized providers, what you find are there are opportunities from the gaps that are left," Supan said. "So absolutely, I believe there is a market for our service."

Patton said he decided to move to the Scenic City as part of what he said is an "all-in strategy" for the new Chattanooga office.

"We're like Cortes (the 16th century Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztec capital)," he quipped. "We're burning the boats and we're not going back."