By Dan Edelen
“Hometown Boy Makes Good” is the classic feel-good story. For Philadelphia native son William F. Casey III ’85, his success in the financial world and networking is not only a personal triumph but also a boon to his city and Lafayette.
Casey, managing partner since 2009 of the boutique Philadelphia investment firm Locust Capital Management LLC, has spent his career building relationships with others, serving as a trusted monetary adviser to clients around the globe—and now at home.
“When we built Locust Capital, we wanted to create a niche in the local market,” says Casey, who noted an underserved market segment. “Philadelphia is a large health care city, with six teaching hospitals. A physician who spends 15 hours a day in the operating room or seeing patients may understand finance but simply doesn’t have the time to navigate those waters.”
Physicians comprise about 75 percent of Locust Capital’s clientele, and the firm’s dedication to health care professionals won a coveted designation as an MD Preferred® National Adviser. Casey adds that Locust Capital’s stellar fiduciary record with its high net worth clients in an age of financial insecurity provides “an ‘ability to sleep at night’ factor.”
Clients and creditors of GMAC, Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Union Bank of Switzerland, and Mellon Bank have relied upon Casey’s financial acumen throughout his career in senior management. Though he lived in Zurich, London, Brussels, Toronto, and New York, he felt a call to come back to assist his former home city and his alma mater.
Reconnecting with Lafayette happened for the repatriated Casey thanks to Janice Egan, assistant director of major gifts in the Office of Development/College Relations. Casey credits Egan with helping him see the potential in a college/city partnership.
“Lafayette thinks of New York City first, but an hour and 15 minutes south of the College is this great city of Philadelphia,” says Casey, who has founded the Philadelphia Resource Council to link Lafayette and the city. “There are 3,500 alumni in Philadelphia the College can better leverage to market Lafayette. The council can also be an opportunity for alumni to network, to develop business. And we can help students, through internships, externships, and by offering employment opportunities.”
One Lafayette student has already benefited from Casey’s vision.
“I hired a Lafayette grad, Sam Feldbaum ’11, after he completed an internship with my firm. He has been a great hire,” notes Casey. “Lafayette attracts relational individuals who are strong in academics and athletics, who can interact and present themselves well. Those qualities make me want to offer Lafayette students a job.”
In addition to the Philadelphia Resource Council, Casey assumed leadership—with Andy Starfield ’04—of the Philadelphia area alumni chapter luncheons hosted for many years by The Rev. John “Bruiser” Kinard ’52. Casey envisions the group evolving (due to time limits on today’s professionals) into an event-driven series of networking and business development opportunities that attract world-class speakers. Casey believes an evening reception and simulcast of the Mikhail Gorbachev lecture at Lafayette will be an opportunity to present the Resource Council.
Rising to the top of registered investment advisers started small for Casey: a paper route in the 1970s. In addition, he noted his father’s business successes and felt drawn to the work. Obtaining a degree in economics and business was the next logical step. He also holds an MBA from Temple University. But for Casey, a mentor’s advice steered him toward a greater reality that had little to do with balance sheets and ratio analysis.
“In finance and Wall Street, you’re not creating a tangible product but developing relationships where people trust you. Someone with wealth must be comfortable having me advise them,” says Casey. “It comes down to relationships, trust, and integrity; that’s what I learned at Lafayette.”