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Best places to work in money management


Every Thursday morning, Balentine employees gather for an all-firm meeting led by Chairman Robert Balentine. It’s an opportunity to build culture, promote transparency, hone presentation skills and enhance collaboration.

Fourth place, money managers with 20 to 49 employees

AUM: $2.5 billion

Employees: 31

Atlanta-based Balentine LLC says a commitment to diversity is part of its secret sauce when it comes to making the firm a great place to work.

Women represent nearly 60% of employees and more than 70% of directors, company officials say.

Earlier this year, the wealth management and financial services firm took another step forward in diversity with the promotion of Brittain Prigge, who added the title of president to her existing duties as head of relationship management.

Ms. Prigge's promotion in June was part of a top-level reorganization in which founder and Chairman Robert Balentine relinquished the CEO title to Adrian Cronje, who also is retaining his chief investment officer title.

"We're proud to have a woman leading our company as president," Mr. Balentine said, noting that the investment industry lacks women at the highest levels.

In the past year, Balentine has intensified its focus on its staff, establishing a human capital department headed by director Clare Easterlin. She previously was director of business management at Balentine.

Balentine traditionally focused on hiring and acclimating new employees to the company, but at the end of 2017 it formed a group for middle managers that meets monthly to discuss workplace issues. "What are we hearing from individuals on our teams, and what do we need to change?" Ms. Easterlin said. "We want to make sure ideas are fully explored and that they're being relayed to management."

Employees appreciate the "family feel" and company policies such as paid time off for community service and monthly birthday parties.

"Balentine constantly makes an effort to improve every aspect of the company," one employee wrote. "Colleagues genuinely care about understanding issues being faced, and they are quick to offer support. We are encouraged to ask questions and we are welcomed to provide ideas for a solution."

And employees stick around. More than 40% of the investment team has worked together for at least 12 years, and that's good for business, Mr. Balentine said.