Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
Bruce R. Bent, of Manhasset, creator of the world’s first money-market fund in 1969 along with partner Henry B.R. “Harry” Brown, was honored by luminaries of the financial world at the Strategic Insight 25th Anniversary Dinner on Nov. 7. Honorees were selected by Strategic Insight’s “Visionaries” Advisory Board and Mr. Bent was recognized as one of the “Visionaries of the Modern Era of the Mutual Fund Industry.” In addition to Mr. Bent, the list includes Bill Gross, PIMCO founder; Edward C. “Ned” Johnson III, chairman of the board of Fidelity Investments; Chuck Schwab, chairman of the board of the Charles Schwab Corporation; and John Templeton.
Peter G. Crane, president and publisher of Crane Data LLC, the premier money-market fund information company, stated: “Bruce Bent’s invention of the money-market mutual fund stands as one of the most important developments in the history of mutual funds. Not only have money-market funds, now at $2.6 trillion in assets, earned investors over $1 trillion in interest income over their 40-year lifetime—hundreds of billions more than they likely would have earned in banks; they’ve also substantially lowered financing costs to corporations, municipalities and the U.S. government. Mr. Bent truly deserves Strategic Insight’s title of ‘Visionary.’ ”
The creation of the money-market fund has been acknowledged by the financial community as the flex point that popularized mutual funds in general with the investing public. Today, assets in mutual funds amount to over $14 trillion and serve tens of millions of investors worldwide.
Mr. Bent has been inducted into the Financial Planning Hall of Fame as well as Money magazine’s Hall of Fame, and he is chronicled in the American Museum of Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
Mr. Bent was born and raised in Great Neck, attended St. Aloysius School and graduated from Great Neck High School. The launch of his business career coincided with the local real estate boom after World War II when he visited the many construction sites collecting discarded deposit bottles. He moved to clerking at a local super market where he remained throughout his four years in high school. From 1955 to 1961, Mr. Bent was a clerk/carrier at the Great Neck Post Office with a time out to serve in the US Marine Corps. Mr. Bent also attended St. John’s University during this period graduating with a BA in Economics. Wall Street beckoned immediately as a flunky to the managing partner of LF Rothschild and Company Inc. and two years later to the investment division of TIAA-CREF. In 1968, Mr. Bent started his own banking boutique, Brown & Bent, the progenitor of The Reserve Fund, the world’s first money market fund in 1970.
Mr. Bent has long been active in government reform starting with a run for Commissioner of the Great Neck Park District, co-founding Change New York (to eliminate waste in New York State Government), Foundation for Education Reform (the most successful charter school operation in the nation which now educates 29 percent of the school population in Albany, NY) and a run for Nassau County Executive (again with an independent reform agenda).
Today, he is particularly involved in the Club for Growth, a nonpartisan organization, identifying and supporting fiscally responsible candidates for Congress across the country.
Mr. Bent has also been active with his alma mater, St. John’s University, since 1980 when he endowed Bent Hall, the seat of the College of Business. In the ensuing 20 years, he served as trustee and member of the executive committee, investment committee and chairman of the facilities committee.
Mr. Bent resides in Plandome with his wife Nancy who holds a PhD in psychology and is executive director of the Imagery Institute for Research and Education at St. John’s University.
Mr. Bent’s sons, Bruce and Arthur, serve as president and chief operating officer respectively and the co-CEOs of the various family enterprises.