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As a philosophy major in college and the son of a highly successful leader in the financial marketplace, Bruce Dent II had an opportunity to accept a position at Brown & Bent, his father’s firm. For a young man who preferred the challenge and reward of entrepreneurship he had to find a way to innovate as well as sustain the growth of the company.
Leading with Entrepreneurial Drive
His record of innovative and entrepreneurial ventures in short-term asset management, cash-related and cash solutions for a variety of markets confirms the wisdom of his choice of career paths. In describing his approach, he said that it takes only one person to conceive of an idea, but that is only the beginning. It “takes a team to bring it to life.” His modest self-assessment shares the recognition for obtaining more than 60 privately held invention patents.
Some of them have assisted in the transformation of the FDIC-insured cash management environment into a fertile industry whose value exceeds $1 trillion. Bent’s vision has provided the impetus for advances in technology that have changed the field of financial services. He believes that “technology has changed the world of finance everywhere” by making it “faster and more efficient when used correctly.”
Improving on Perfection
With the remarkable achievement of his father, Bruce Bent, and Harry Brown in the invention of the first money market mutual fund, Bent II founded Double Rock to enhance it. By expanding the business with other cash management products, he achieved $1 billion in assets under his company’s management. Interest funds that banks had traditionally claimed went into the pockets of ordinary investors after his father’s invention. Double Rock continues the tradition and improves it by “remembering to create value for the customer.”
Recognizing a Need for Evolution
Bent II greatly respects the astounding invention of the money market mutual fund that Brown and Bent discovered in 1971. Without seeing a need to change anything in 1991 when he joined the Reserve Fund, the company that made the investment available, he did see an opportunity for advancing with evolution. The potential for expansion was there, and it needed the advocacy that he brought. Comparing the situation to “finding a Ferrari up on blocks,” he set about putting the Ferrari on the road.
He realized his good fortune in having a “basic platform to start with,” and he used his “intuitive vision for the future” and entrepreneurial instincts to move the company forward. “I think we evolved and matured,” he said, and the transition occurred across the whole company with people, technology, management techniques and culture.”
Changing the Industry through Innovations and Inventions
The inventions and patents that mark the significance of Bent’s creative leadership over the past 20 years now reside in a separate company, DoubleRock. While he acknowledges that his inventions had an influence on cash management that provided inspiration for “hundreds of billions of investor dollars” to go into new products and services, he cites “existing needs” as the inspiration for them.
His motivation was not as much for the benefit of the industry as it was for existing customers and for the potential to win over new ones. As an apt entrepreneur, he understood the value of listening carefully and intently to the needs that clients expressed. He received confirmation of the validity of his inventions by observing that the rest of the industry implemented similar products after seeing his success. As a consequence, “the industry itself moved forward,” he said.