"The firm is running smoothly," Mr. Bryant said. "Eventually there will be a president, but in the near term, we don't feel any need to force the issue. We're comfortable with the management structure as it is right now."
Kennedy's immediate plans center on beefing up client-service capabilities and building up its three-year-old midcap value strategy, he said. Kennedy recently hired Randy Kirkland, a former senior consultant at Asset Consulting Group, Inc., St. Louis, as director of client servicing to jump-start the effort.
The firm is also in the early stages of majority employee ownership discussions with the Kennedy family, although there is no deal on the table.
The majority of voting stock rests in a trust created by founder Gerald Kennedy, who died in March 1999. His daughter, Mary Kennedy, is a member of the board.
Thomas White, senior analyst at consulting firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., St. Louis, said Terry Raterman, Kennedy's Small Cap Select fund portfolio manager, told him when "any changes in ownership would be transitioned on a seamless basis." One of Stifel's high-net-worth clients, which Mr. White would not identify, is invested in a Kennedy portfolio.
Despite the management turnover, the company's fundamentals remain strong. Assets under management have jumped 137% in a little less than three years, reaching $3.8 billion as of June 30, up from $1.6 billion at the end of 2002.
New accounts total $330 million as of July 31, said Mr. Bryant, who declined to divulge new client names. He said the new assets are primarily small-cap institutional accounts in Kennedy's pipeline from last year, combined with $150 million brought into the Small Cap Value II portfolio.
Kennedy will not continue soliciting new clients for its four institutional small-cap strategies, which are at full capacity.
However, the Small Cap Select, a separate account strategy aimed at high-net-worth clients, remains open to new investors. It has taken in $11 million in assets for the six months ended June 30, reaching $75.6 million.
The firm's midcap value strategy, which was three years old in January, is generating institutional interest, Mr. Bryant said. It has about $4 million in assets, mostly from high-net-worth individuals. Kennedy has verbal commitments from two new institutional clients; one of the allocations will be about $1.5 million, and the other will be "significantly larger," Mr. Bryant said in an e-mail.
Existing clients aren't worried about Kennedy from an organizational standpoint.