The Beginning

1975 – 1985

"Ferguson, Johnson and Wellman opened its doors on December 1, 1975.

Its quarters were the abandoned penthouse on the roof of Portland’s historic Pacific Building on Southwest Sixth and Yamhill. The firm was staffed by the three wives of the principals of the firm and no wages were paid in the initial year of operation. In 1975, public confidence was the lowest since the Great Depression. We were at the tail-end of Watergate, losing President Nixon. We had recently devalued the dollar. We were at the end of the Arab oil embargo and at the height of the Soviet Union. So Norb thought that might be a good time to start a company."

– Joe Ferguson

"We had a lot of confidence to start a company. We transitioned from a commission-basis to a fee-basis, which enabled us to start working with clients right away. Starting something new was also about control, at least in my mind. I didn’t want someone from New York telling me what to pay my staff.

I liked the idea of us making decisions in the morning while we were shaving."



1985 – 1999

“By 1985, Ferguson, Wellman, Rudd, Purdy and Van Winkle managed $470 million for 125 clients.

We had 12 employees and started to expand firm ownership beyond our founders, preparing for our first transition and a new phase of leadership. We had recently launched our core fixed income strategy and also began providing wealth management services.

By the early 1990s, our firm had a dedicated trading desk and analysts to follow specific market sectors. By the mid-1990s our assets had reached $1 billion and two-thirds of our employees were shareholders. In 1997, we started our second significant transition of leadership and ownership."

– Jim Rudd


"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."

- Marcus Aurelius


THE 2000s


"As we approached our 25th year of business in 2000, we were serving 360 clients and 20 of those clients had been with us since our founding year. To manage our growth, we raised our minimum to $2 million. We also hired technology professionals who provided clients with web access to their account information while keeping their data secure. Our third transfer of ownership began in 2006 with four professionals making investments in our company. From the events of September 11, 2001, war and recession to the unprecedented turmoil we encountered from the subprime meltdown and volatile price of oil in 2008 – it was a decade that tested our fortitude and faith in the capital markets.

Thankfully, we stuck to the fundamentals, resulting in our clients benefitting from staying invested and seeing their portfolios recover and grow."

– George Hosfield, CFA


THE 2010s

"In 2013, Ferguson Wellman saw an opportunity to provide wealth management services to clients with investable assets from $750,000 to $3 million.

Through leveraging Ferguson Wellman’s investment strategies, West Bearing has the ability to start relationships earlier with clients and address their financial planning needs. West Bearing also provides investment management to foundations and endowments. By the close of 2013, Ferguson Wellman raised its minimum to $3 million."

– Steve Holwerda, CFA


"I feel like it’s the college I went to — it’s good when I went there and better now.

This firm is a joy to be a part of, even in retirement. I hope they will still be here in 40 years from now. I won’t be, but hope they are an independent, private firm because that is the journey that is truly enjoyable at the end."

– Joe Ferguson


"We concluded our 40th year in 2015 with $4.3 billion in assets under management and 743 clients.

Through Ferguson Wellman and West Bearing Investments, we continue grow our investment strategies and wealth management services to serve our clients’ evolving needs."