AUBURN — Owners of Credent Wealth Management broke ground Thursday for a new headquarters in downtown Auburn.
If all goes on schedule, the company will cut a ribbon one year from now to open a three-story office building at 200 E. 7th St., on the northeast corner of the courthouse square.
In ceremony attended by about 50 people on a cold, sunny morning, company founders David and Stacy Hefty recalled how they started their business in 2000 at the age of 23. It now provides financial planning and advisory services on $1.3 billion of assets under management, with locations in Auburn; Portage, Michigan; and Waco and Plano in Texas.
About 40 of the company’s 60 employees work in Auburn, but are spread over four locations in the city, said Stacy Hefty, Credent’s president.
“It’s time to get the crew back together, we decided, and we’re still growing and adding jobs each year,” she told the groundbreaking audience.
When the company searched for a new location, “None of them felt right until this downtown spot came together,” she said.
The new building will have room for all of Credent’s local employees and space for other businesses to lease.
David Hefty, CEO of the firm, recalled how two decades ago, the couple were deciding between Auburn and Stacy’s hometown area of Lafayette as the place to start their business. He said they saw a billboard south of Auburn sponsored by DeKalb Memorial Hospital. Its message read, “Auburn: a great place to raise a family.”
“Stacy said ‘yes’ to this town,” David Hefty said. “Just like the billboard said, it’s been a great place to raise our four children.”
“We thought it would be a great place to raise our family, to start our business, and we thought we could create a better way to serve our clients’ financial needs,“ Stacy Hefty said. “Almost 21 years later, here we are, still in love with the heart of downtown Auburn, Indiana, raising our four children now and loving the place that we call home.”
“We know that our dream of 20 years ago was made possible because of where we were planted. We were planted in Auburn, and we’re going to continue to grow in Auburn,” David Hefty said.
He said the business faced a rough start in the midst of the “tech bubble” burst.
“However, the people of Auburn and DeKalb County responded en masse to the offering of independent financial advice,” he said. Customers helped refine the process through a client advisory council, he added.
“We continued to stay very focused on our mission to guide clients through life’s most important financial events with service and expertise above and beyond their expectations,” he said.
“By 2012, we discovered that other independent firms across America wanted to learn more about our unique way,” he said. The Heftys began leading sessions at national conventions of financial advisers.
In 2017, the company rebranded and reorganized into “a partner-managed, partner-owned, fee-only firm that has no financial ties to Wall Street, no financial ties to the broker-dealers that peddle the products of Wall Street,” he said.
They joined with other “like-minded firms” and on April 1, 2018, launched Credent Wealth Management.
The company serves some clients with assets as little as $5,000, David Hefty said, adding, “Our firm does that at a loss. We don’t care, because it serves our mission well.”
He noted that the couple are raising their children “on the same family farm where I was raised, and where my father was raised, and where my mother was raised, because yes, they were next-door neighbors. … Those two farms are still in our family today and have been since the 1950s.”
The couple’s parents joined them Thursday in a traditional shovel ceremony, along with representatives of city and county government, local business organizations and contractors for the construction project.
“From our experience, Auburn is not only a great place to raise a family, but also a great place to build a business,” David Hefty said. “The people of this community possess a servant’s heart, along with the values and work ethic that match the culture of our firm.”
Stacy Hefty said Credent Wealth Management is making donations to three local nonprofit organizations — Women’s Care Center of Northeast Indiana, Hearten House and DeKalb County 4-H.
The project’s main contractor, design-builder Michael Kinder & Sons of Fort Wayne, also is making donations, and Credent will encourage all subcontractors to contribute.
“We want to really highlight the spirit of what we see as making a difference in our community,” Stacy Hefty said.