It has been nearly three years since Sterling Capital became an independent subsidiary of bank holding company Truist Financial, which was created by the 2019 merger between BB&T and Sun Trust. The firm has had a long history of corporate mergers. It underwent six control changes between 1973 and 2005 and has historically expanded into new product areas through acquisitions of smaller asset managers, such as Stratton in 2015. The resulting asset manager has some strong traits: turnover among its investment professionals is sparse, and investor incentive plans stress long-term performance. Yet fees remain mostly middling or above average across the complex, and few strategies have generated consistently attractive risk-adjusted returns relative to their cohorts.
The firm is looking to the future. Sterling is still looking to expand its product lineup through more bolt-on acquisitions, and it has organically launched two new exchange-traded funds from late 2020 through September 2022. Yet the success of these efforts, and of its ambitions to grow its footprint in the institutional investor channel, will take time to assess.