Mairs and Power is an SEC-registered investment advisory firm and is Minnesota's oldest investment firm under private ownership and management.
George A. Mairs, Jr., a Saint Paul native, founded the firm in 1931. At the age of 28, he determined that the field of investment management was under-represented in the Twin Cities and set about to build a career. Already holding an undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania's Lafayette College, he went on to earn a Master's degree in corporate finance from the University of Minnesota. Just 15 months after the stock market crash of 1929, George Mairs became Minnesota's first independent professional investment counselor.
The Great Depression was a challenging period and the business grew slowly. Railroads, however, were the bedrock of the Saint Paul economy, and Mairs’ keen interest in rail securities translated into success, establishing his reputation as a prudent investor. By 1940, many of his clients' investments, led by rail securities, had shown substantial appreciation.
In 1944 George C. Power, Jr. joined the firm, which later became known as Mairs and Power, Inc. A graduate of Carleton College, Power began his investment career in 1934 with the research affiliate of First Bank Stock Corporation (now U.S. Bancorp).
In 1952, Mairs' son George A. Mairs, III entered the firm. Mr. Mairs held academic credentials from Yale University and Macalester College.
The 1950s was a period of solid growth for the firm as well as the nation's economy. The stock market awakened to the realities of postwar prosperity, and a 10-year bull market ensued. Since the firm's inception, most of its clients were individual and family investors with some accumulated wealth. However, in the 1950s retirement funds and institutions became part of the client base. As the firm grew, it became necessary to establish a minimum asset level for new accounts. To remain accessible to the small investor, the firm entered the mutual fund field; first with the Mairs and Power Growth Fund in 1958, then adding the Mairs and Power Balanced Fund in 1961. Both were established as no-load funds, bearing neither sales nor redemption charges. At that time there were fewer than 100 such funds in the nation.
George A. Mairs, Jr. retired from active management in 1975 but continued as a shareholder until his death in 1983. In 1992, William B. Frels, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, joined the firm after 30 years in investment management, the last 20 of which included senior investment positions in two major Saint Paul trust departments.
Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s the firm's business continued to grow rapidly under the strong leadership of George Mairs III and William B. Frels. George Mairs III retired from active management in 2009, but continued in a consulting capacity until his death in 2010. Mairs and Power was further strengthened during this period as eight additional established investment professionals joined the firm: Peter G. Robb in 1994, John K. Butler in 1999, Ronald L. Kaliebe in 2001, Jon A. Theobald in 2002, Mark L. Henneman in 2004, Andrew R. Adams in 2006, Glenn E. Johnson and Peter J. Johnson in 2010, and Kevin V. Earley in 2013.
In 2011 Mairs and Power added to its family of mutual funds by launching the Mairs and Power Small Cap Fund. Similar to the Growth and Balanced Funds, the Small Cap Fund is a no-load fund focusing on long-term appreciation.