Bye-bye banking; buy-buy banks

No more worrying about employees, no more dealing with analysts, no more buildings to buy or sell, no more branches to open -- there's a lot that Frederick "Ted" Peters, 64, will leave behind when he leaves his executive positions at Bryn Mawr Bank Corp. at the end of the year.  He may even be able to shed some of those charity galas, but more about that later.

"I think that having that kind of constant worry about the welfare of your employees and the motivation of your employees is something that I’ll probably miss, but quite frankly,  after 28 years as a bank president and CEO, I won’t miss it that much," Peters told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Peters plans to start his own fund, investing in banks that are likely to be taken over. He's been investing his own money to build up a track record, but when he leaves Bryn Mawr (he'll remain on the board), he plans to start his fund with $15 million to $20 million raised from family and friends.

(Wow, some family and friends!)

"Well," Peters said, "I’ve been around a long time and I’ve been in this business for 38 years.  You get to know a lot of people and I think it’s very doable in the first six months.  And then, I’d like to get the fund up to $50 or $100 million in five years. That’s the target."

Obviously investment funds require someone to develop strategy and make the picks. That job belongs to Peters. But there's more involved. Reports have to be generated, statements have to be mailed, money has to be handled and the buys have to be made. All of that takes people, but none of those people will be employed by Peters or his fund.

"I don’t want to do that again," Peters said. "So I’m going to affiliate with a firm in Wayne called Bluestone Capital Management. They are basically going to private label the fund for me. This is a company that in Wayne that runs a few funds, so they know exactly what they are doing. I’m going to own the fund and I’m going to make the picks. I don’t have to worry about compliance. I don’t have to worry about statements. I don’t have to worry about traders. If I was 35 again, I might do it a little differently.

"This is a really a win-win for everybody."

As for the charity galas, it goes with the turf for someone with three titles -- chief executive officer, president and chairman of Bryn Mawr Trust Co. Plus, Peters serves and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards. 

Weather cuts down on the quantity of charity galas planned for the winter and the gala-goers flee Philadelphia in the summer.  "No one is here in July and August," Peters said, "so gala season is basically the fall and spring and you are out every Friday and Saturday night at an event."

It also goes with the turf for someone trying to build relationships with potential investors for his fund.

True, said Peters. "But after you get to a certain critical mass, you go to institutions."

What constitutes a critical mass, I asked.

"$25 to $50 million," Peters said, "then you go to institutions and endowments."