The firm’s founders discuss its origins, unconventional roots, and growth.
The original offices at Calvert Street, Washington, DC.
Calvert Group Ltd., known in 1976 as the Government Securities Management Company (GSMC), was brought to life by two young entrepreneurs driven by the need for change and creativity. While conventional investment strategies at the time recommended putting capital into low-interest-bearing savings accounts, former college friends D. Wayne Silby and John G. Guffey, Jr., saw the opportunity to create a higher-yielding money market fund available to the general public. In 1976, they introduced the First Variable Rate Fund—the first variable-rate money fund in the country—that sought to combine short-term, fixed-rate securities with long-term, variable-rate securities to provide attractive yields, as well as a strong measure of safety.
"The concept of what we were trying to do then was provide a safe investment product," says Calvert Chief Financial Officer Ron Wolfsheimer, "namely a money fund, available to everybody, that had a good yield—it was just phenomenal how it was being done!"
The First Variable Rate Fund grew rapidly by word-of-mouth, achieving the highest yield of all money market funds for several years in a row. Only five years after its inception, the Fund's assets exceeded $1 billion.
In 1981, after a few years of stellar fund performance and growth, Silby and Guffey decided to launch additional funds. Needing a name for the new fund family, they decided on Calvert Group after the Washington, D.C. street name where the original offices were located.