South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond on Wednesday honored Spartanburg-based Colonial Trust Co. as one of the Palmetto State’s Centennial Businesses.
Hammond presented the company’s leaders with a proclamation and a copy of Colonial Trust’s original articles of incorporation dating back to July of 1913 during a ceremony at its corporate office at 359 S. Pine St.
The independent wealth management firm, which also has offices in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston, is one of only 20 companies in South Carolina that has been on file with the Secretary of State’s office for 100 years or more, Hammond said.
“This is a very special day,” Hammond said. “Being Secretary of State, I love to go across South Carolina and recognize our Centennial Businesses… This is a special group… I believe we should recognize and thank them for all they have done for their communities and state.”
In 2013, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Colonial Trust was founded by R.B. Cleveland, Thomas Screven and Julian Calhoun at a time when Spartanburg was being transformed by textiles from an agrarian economy to an industrial hub.
After the Great Depression, Colonial Trust began emphasizing property and casualty insurance. The company worked closely with the Veteran’s Administration as a conservator for disabled vets after World War II and the Korean War.
Hammond said the company is currently the only privately-owned trust firm in South Carolina.
Colonial Trust’s principals Barry Wynn and Wally Barre took ownership of the company in 1989. At the time, the company was located on Morgan Square in downtown and its assets were about $20 million.
“We’re honored to have [Hammond] here and his staff,” Barry Wynn said. “We are always proud to serve South Carolina and delighted to be recognized.”
Wynn and Barre opened a location in Greenville in 1996 and then relocated the Spartanburg office in 1999.
Their sons, Bert Barre and Camp Wynn, joined the firm in 2001 and later became principals in 2007.
Colonial Trust opened its Charleston office in 2008 and then moved into Columbia after its centennial in 2013.
Wally Barre said the company has 19 employees, $1 billion in assets under advisement and $400 million in assets under management.
“We think that with the four offices we’ve got good representation across the state,” he said. “We think there is a bright future for trust services.”
There were a few moments of good humor during Wednesday’s ceremony. Hammond, who is from Spartanburg, referenced a running joke that Barry Wynn had been with the company since its inception in 1913. Wynn responded at the end of the ceremony by saying he hoped to have the secretary back in another 100 years.
Hammond said he plans to recognize Spartanburg County’s other centennial company Inman Mills in the near future.
For more information, visit www.colonialtrust.com.