Over the years, many people have asked me, “How did Old North State Trust, LLC (ONST) come into existence in North Carolina?” It was founded in 1994 as a Registered Investment Advisor and received its charter from the N.C. Banking Commission. In February 2004, it began operating as a trust company.
Old North State Trust, LLC provides comprehensive trust and estate services; income, estate and trust tax planning; employee benefit plans; and asset management to individuals, businesses and family groups, endowments and foundations. Our staff includes experienced and knowledgeable trust officers, investment advisers, portfolio managers and support staff. We have offices in Wilmington, Greensboro, Greenville and Siler City.
ONST is an independent and family owned trust company. But our story actually beings four generations ago, well before ONST became a registered investment adviser and trust company.
It all started with the de St. Aubin family, who first settled in Canada before moving to Chicago. As a 10-year-old young boy, Ovide G. de St. Aubin, Sr. worked for Marshall Field’s in the wholesale dry goods department and over time worked his way up to become the head wine buyer of the company’s European division.
That all changed when the Cripple Creek Silver Rush of the 1890s drew Ovide and his brother to Colorado. The siblings built two general stores in Colorado during this period; when the rush ended, they moved back to Chicago and started the St. Aubin Nursery business.
In 1916, Ovide discovered the business opportunities offered by the apparel industry and went into business with his sons, Percival and Ovide, Jr. (also known as Tam). The father and sons operated apparel and hosiery businesses until the deaths of Percival in 1940 and Ovide in 1943, with Ovide Jr. becoming CEO of the various family companies until his death in 1967. His son, Ovide E. de St. Aubin, entered the family businesses in the late 1950s, primarily working in the hosiery operations, before succeeding his father with his brother-in-law, Richard W. O’Brien, Jr. In 1985, the apparel and hosiery business was sold and the money from the sale went into the holding company of Pohatcong Investors, Inc.
After years of entrepreneurial ventures within the family, Tam Senior’s younger son Denis started Heritage Concrete Corporation in the late 1980s. With Denis at the lead, Tam Jr. joined Denis in the structuring of the concrete business. After getting married in 1992, Denis became interested in the financial industry with his family and his father-in-law, who was a leading figure with Chatham Bank. Chatham Bank was later acquired by First Union Bank and subsequently merged with Wachovia (now Wells Fargo).
In 1992, Denis started a registered investment company (RIC) called Heritage Investments, and changed its name in 1994 to North State Financial. After a few years as a RIC, Denis saw a need for providing trust services and in 2004 became one of the few locally owned and independent trust companies in North Carolina. In February 2014, ONST celebrated its 10th anniversary as a trust company in North Carolina.
The family philosophy that has been passed down through the generations is to always take care of the clients and the employees, and to stay aboveboard and honest in all business transactions. We as a family and company live by these values each and every day.
Susan Willett is the director of trust services and oversees all aspects of trust administration for Old North State Trust, LLC. Old North State Trust, a North Carolina chartered trust company, provides: asset management services; income, estate and trust tax consulting; retirement planning and administration; and trustee and estate services to both individuals and businesses. Old North State Trust professionals have many years of experience and for over a decade have assisted clients in identifying and reaching their financial goals. For more information, visit www.oldnorthstatetrust.com or call 910-399-5470.
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