CHAMPAIGN, Ill., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When Murray Wise sold a controlling interest in the Westchester Group to TIAA-CREF, the firm was one of the largest global asset managers in the world. But if it hadn't been for Dale Cozad, that might never have happened.
So when Wise received Parkland College's V. Dale Cozad Entrepreneur of the Year award, he immediately called it "the single greatest honor of my life."
"If it hadn't been for Dale Cozad, my career might have been very different than it has been. It was Dale who convinced me to move into the institutional marketplace and begin pursuing pension funds as farmland investors. He was a mentor, business partner and dear friend for many years," said Wise, chief executive officer of Murray Wise Associates LLC, based in Champaign.
"This was a totally new idea at the time. Institutions were just beginning to invest in farmland. It seemed unlikely then that a small firm like ours could compete against the major insurance companies and financial institutions in the agricultural asset management business. But we presented against several of those firms in our very first institutional presentation to a very large state pension fund, and we got the account. Everything grew out of that, and it all started with a very bold suggestion from Dale," said Wise.
Today, Wise's focus is on multiple lines of business that were retained and renamed under the Murray Wise Associates umbrella following the sale of the Westchester Group, Inc., to TIAA-CREF. These include one of the nation's largest land auction businesses, the individual investor asset management business and a financial advisory business focused on mergers, acquisitions and restructurings for middle-market agribusinesses.
"These are all very exciting businesses, and we have had phenomenal success selling large farms and agribusinesses from California to Florida," said Wise. "But in the midst of all that, I'm delighted to step back and use this honor as an opportunity to remember my old friend Dale Cozad, and to pledge my firm to continue to innovate and pursue new markets in a way that would have pleased him."
Murray Wise Associates LLC, with offices in Florida, Illinois and Iowa, is a leading national agricultural real estate marketing and financial advisory firm. Individuals seeking additional information may visit murraywiseassociates.com or call 800-607-6888.
For more information:
Carl Carter, 205-823-3273
SOURCE Murray Wise Associates LLC