Spotlight – Larry Morris
Posted: February 27, 2019
Larry Morris serves as a senior advisor and consultant to Bancroft Capital. His fascination with the financial industry led to a long career in fixed-income risk management. While serving as Managing Director at Butcher & Singer, Larry designed a risk management system for trading and underwriting that resulted in substantial profitability, even when markets were not favorable. When Butcher & Singer was purchased by Wheat First Securities (WFS), Larry served as Head of Tax-Free and Taxable Trading and Underwriting. After First Union purchased WFS, he continued as Managing Director in the corporate and investment banking division where he led the municipal trading and underwriting group to become one of the largest underwriters in the nation. Larry retired after the merger with Wachovia Bank but was compelled to return to the industry by the strength of his relationships with members of the Bancroft investor group and a belief in the firm’s mission.
Read on as Larry shares why he calls Bancroft Capital a breath of fresh air, his greatest achievements, and his love of mentoring in the financial industry.
I was born in Newark, NJ and currently live in Voorhees, NJ.
Why did you decide to join the Bancroft Capital team?
During the time in which Bancroft was founded, I was retired with no intention of rejoining any financial firms. Shortly after, I was contacted by Michael S. Spatacco, Senior Vice President at Bancroft, with whom I worked in the Fixed Income Group at Butcher & Singer about 35 years ago. My respect and admiration for Michael led to a meeting with Cal Quinn, the CEO of Bancroft. I was so impressed with Cal as a person and professional in the industry, I decided to join Bancroft in a consulting capacity.
Tell us about your duties/day to day experience at Bancroft Capital.
While my official title is ‘consultant’, I envision myself as a mentor, advisor, confidante, motivator, and attitude modifier, as well as a protective type of person. Since I am a positive character myself, I have come to realize that my positive attitude is contagious. I utilize this asset to assist the office personnel in maintaining a positive productive approach to situations. I am a cross between cheerleader and behavior modification strategist.
Why are you proud to work at Bancroft Capital?
I have been blessed with approximately thirty-five years of success in risk management, trading, and personnel development. Working at Bancroft has allowed me to participate in a challenging financial business with some of the most talented young individuals with whom I have ever been involved. In addition, the management team including Michael Spatacco is the epitome of intense leadership. Cal Quinn, our CEO, is a leader among leaders who exhibits more integrity, more commitment, more morality and more ideals than anyone I have ever worked with in my thirty-five years as a fixed income participant and manager.
What is your greatest professional achievement to date?
I believe my two greatest achievements are:
- Creating a fixed income risk management system that allows a fixed income trading firm to be profitable in any market environment (up or down).
- Mentoring young professionals in the financial industry and watching them become successful leaders in that industry.
What assets/skills do you bring to your customers?
I wear two hats regarding clients and customers. To assist the institutional clients of Bancroft Capital, I write an economic market newsletter tailored for their industry needs. In my consulting capacity, Bancroft team members are another group of clients where I hope my thirty-five years of experience assists them in their analytics, financial information, attitudes, and the many developmental skills needed for successful careers. By enhancing the employees of Bancroft, our institutional clients’ expectations are exceeded.
What are your thoughts on Bancroft’s mission to hire veterans?
There is too much focus on divisions between us in today’s society. In order for the country and society to get out of this vicious cycle of self-indulgence and promotion of discriminatory activities, we need to get back to the old-world community attitude of helping one another. The Bancroft mission to assist service-disabled veterans is a step in that direction. Providing another person with an opportunity to develop new skill sets enhances the productivity of everyone around them. Just think how productive and well-off society and business would be if all companies extended an opportunity to just a few people that have disabilities or look different than some.
What’s your favorite part about working at Bancroft Capital?
I have been in this industry for a very long time, and Bancroft is a breath of fresh air. The management stresses morality and professional ethics and does what they say they’re going to do — a rare commodity in today’s financial world. Personally, after all of my years of experience, I would never have considered an advisory role in any other firm had it not been for Cal Quinn and Michael Spatacco. These gentlemen are honest, ethical individuals in a firm honoring the mission to enhance client value and distinguish itself by supporting disabled veterans with dignity and opportunities.
How did you get into the field of finance?
This is a very unusual story. I graduated from the University of Arizona and came back home to New Jersey to interviewing for jobs. Three M and International Paper both offered me jobs in 1969. During the same time, my mother was at the beauty parlor with the wife of the chairman of a small municipal bond firm in New Jersey. She told me they were looking to hire college grads. I interviewed with them, and they offered to send me to California where they had opened an office. It seemed intriguing to me, so I accepted an offer to go to California and learn the ins and outs of fixed income products. The rest is history, and I never looked back.
I first heard this part of her quote from the movie Akeelah and the Bee. I have loved it ever since.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
When you’re not working, what are your interests/hobbies?
I am an avid wine collector/drinker of California wine. I started this hobby when I went to California to work. Now almost 45 years later I enjoy opening a nice bottle with friends and young folks who wish to learn about wine. My other hobby is working outside. I do my own landscaping, and during the summer I grow 35 different kinds of tomatoes (all in pots).
Other things you’d like to share?
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention my wife Linda. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. Her hobby is traveling, and I am more of the stay at home type. We compromise by not traveling during growing and planting season. After that, it’s a workout as to where we vacation. It’s a good thing we both like warm places!