Only The Strong Survive

The 32nd Annual Report On Black Business

assets. With its recent acquisition of Washington, D.C.-based Independence Federal (No. 11 on the BE BANKS list with $217.1 million in assets), CEO Deborah Wright is positioning the institution to make history as the first black bank to reach $1 billion in assets. Overall, the number of black banks will shrink as leading institutions like Carver, Boston-based OneUnited (No. 2 on the BE BANKS list with $438.6 million in assets), and Atlanta-based Citizens Trust (No. 3 on the BE BANKS list with $359.7 million in assets) continue to gobble up the smaller fish. By doing so, some wonder if they will have enough muscle to compete against larger, majority-owned institutions in the future.

The insurance industry is feeling the effect of downsizing as well. Consolidation has forced BE to shrink its ranking of top black-owned insurers from 10 to five with perennials North Carolina Mutual in Durham (No. 1 on the BE INSURANCE COMPANIES list with $175.7 million in assets), Golden State Mutual in Los Angeles (No. 2 on the BE INSURANCE COMPANIES list with $121 million in assets), and Atlanta Life Financial Group (No. 3 on the BE INSURANCE COMPANIES list with $99.7 million in assets) leading this decimated pack.

Of the sectors, asset management posted the most significant growth. In 2003, the bull market came charging back with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index posting annual gains of 30% and 50%, respectively. As a result, BE ASSET MANAGERS produced an average growth in assets under management of 36.2%. Among the big winners: Chicago’s Ariel Capital Management (No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $16.1 billion in assets under management), which increased assets under management by 56.3% to break the historic $10 billion mark; and New York City’s Advent Capital Management (No. 6 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $3.4 billion in assets under management), which targeted the convertible bond market and boosted assets by a breathtaking 140%.

As the performance of the BE 100S demonstrates, regardless of industry, to remain a player in American business, companies must have solid management, take bold action, and possess unyielding stamina. Yes, only the strong will truly survive.

TRACKING THE B.E. 100s
Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the number of business failures due to corporate improprieties, accounting irregularities, financial mismanagement, revenue overstatements and executive malfeasance. As a result, measures such as the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 have been put in place to require CEOs, CFOs, and corporate officers to take responsibility, for, among other things, financial accuracy and scrupulous reporting.

In developing this year’s ranking of the BE 100S — the nation’s largest black-owned industrial/service companies, auto dealers, advertising agencies, and financial services firms, the BE Research and editorial teams have tightened our standards as they relate to the reporting of gross sales, billings, and other financial measurements of BE 100S companies. Why have we made our reporting and verification process so rigorous? So we can ensure that government agencies, corporate purchasing departments,

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