The newest top executive at Baltimore’s T. Rowe Price, fresh from a two-year stint at the venerable firm’s London office, is no stranger to the city.
Stephon Jackson grew up in west Baltimore and is a graduate of the Gilman School.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar, and his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, in 1991, he eventually returned to Baltimore and a career in investments.
He went to work at T. Rowe Price in 2007 and has been there ever since.
Jackson was director of equity research for T. Rowe Prince’s European operation, in London, when he was offered the job as head of the T. Rowe Price Investment Management.
TRPIM, according to a T. Rowe Price news release, is a “separate U.S.-based SEC-registered investment advisor” that will have “its own investment platform and veteran leadership, with more than 100 associates, including 85 investment professionals.”
The new division will give the company “two distinct investment platforms with independent research teams” and allow the firm to “generate new capacity while retaining its scale benefits and positioning the investment teams for continued success on behalf of clients.,”
“Having two strong, yet separate, research platforms will enable us to continue delivering excellent investment performance for our clients,” said William J. Stromberg, president and CEO of T. Rowe Price.
Stromberg praised TRPIM’s leadership team, headed by Jackson, and said it “will ensure that the T. Rowe Price investment process; culture; and long-term, client-first orientation will be as foundational to T. Rowe Price Investment Management as it is for T. Rowe Price Associates.
“We recognize that this is a change for our clients,” Stromberg went on, “and in keeping with our custom of carefully communicating major investment and leadership shifts well in advance, we’ll take the next 18 months to fine-tune and execute our operating plans while working with our clients to help them prepare for the changes.”
Rob Sharps, head of investments for T. Rowe Price, said the new platform “will ensure that over time our portfolio managers can continue to select the right securities, in the right amounts, at the right time, while also adhering to risk management and regulatory guidelines, with the goal of delivering superior investment performance for clients.”
Jackson began his new job in Baltimore Jan. 1, when he also joined the T. Rowe Price Group Inc. Management Committee. He is a member of the company’s Black Leadership Council and a vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
Jackson said he welcomed the challenge of heading the company’s new platform.
“I’m a T. Rowe lifer now,” Jackson said. “The opportunity was presented to me to be a part of an important strategic initiative, and I wanted to do my part, to make a contribution.”
Leadership, he added, “is not for the faint of heart.” But he said he is surrounded by “an outstanding team of investors” and a strong operations team, and the firm has dedicated significant resources to the new effort.
“There are a lot of moving parts and some heavy lifting,” he said. “But I think I’m up to the challenge and I’m excited to take it on.”
As for returning to Baltimore, Jackson said the move was natural for him.
“I have my home here, I raised my children here,” he said. “My wife and I made a nice life for ourselves here.
“London was nice and we’ll miss it. But Baltimore has always been there.”
During his previous years working and living in the city, Jackson served on a number of philanthropic groups — “organizations that filled the gaps our government institutions don’t fill.”
His work included stints on the executive boards of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Abel Foundation and as chairman of the investment committee of the Gilman School, his alma mater.
“I’ve always wanted to see Baltimore reach its full potential and do better,” he said.
He also is focused on making a success of the new venture he now heads.
“The reason for us standing this new operation is to be able to continue to deliver strong performances for our clients and to manage our capacity as a larger investment firm,” he said. “These are very important points.”