Our History

The Glenmede Trust Company was founded in 1956 for one purpose-to serve in perpetuity as Trustee and Administrator of The Pew Memorial Trust, the primary funding source for the non-profit now known as The Pew Charitable Trusts. Over the last five decades, Glenmede and Pew have shared a rich history with each becoming separate entities in 2004. Today, Glenmede continues to serve as Trustee and now provides wealth and investment management services to nearly 2,000 families, as well as institutional and charitable organizations across the country.

We are often asked how we evolved from a single-family trust company into one of the most respected wealth and investment management companies in the United States. While you can read the full story here, our short answer is this: We were founded on ideals and built on ideas.

Founded on Ideals

The Glenmede Trust Company was founded by four children of Joseph N. and Mary Anderson Pew, who had recently endowed The Pew Memorial Trust to honor their parents’ extensive philanthropic legacy. Funded with Sun Oil Company stock—Joseph N. Pew was the founder of Sun Oil—the Trust was established to make donations to support charitable organizations that shared the family’s values in the fields of education, medicine, religion and social welfare.

Serving as a Trustee in perpetuity was a bold objective and demanded two distinct qualities from the newly established Glenmede Trust Company: An enduring commitment to fiduciary values and the longevity to serve in perpetuity. We were bound to uphold our founders’ ideals, by serving as a trusted fiduciary, a loyal, long-term employer and a prudent steward of our clients’ capital.

These ideals directly shape our every decision. At Glenmede, our clients’ best interests always come first. For example, we want to attract and retain talented employees for the long-term, because our clients benefit from the continuity of service and deep experience of our professional staff. In turn, professionals are compensated based on how well they serve their clients and the quality of their thinking for the same reason.

We remain firmly committed to our independent ownership structure. Glenmede is privately held, and answer only to our clients and shareholders. Our independence allows us to chart our own course, responding quickly to evolving market conditions and changes in client circumstances.

Built on ideas

The second requirement of our founding mandates that we support those values forever, which requires an ongoing culture of continuous innovation. While ideals are permanent, client needs and the business environment constantly change. From our earliest days, we have been committed to providing leading-edge solutions and innovative services, customized to help clients fulfill their short- and long-term goals. After all, “in perpetuity” is a long time.

Some milestones reflecting thoughtful innovation include:

1960-70’s: In its first years of operation, Glenmede’s primary responsibility is to administer The Pew Memorial Trust and two additional trusts established by the founders. We began to recognize that the investment platform created for The Pew Trusts could be successfully leveraged to serve other individuals, families and institutions.

With that in mind, we expand our wealth advisory expertise into a comprehensive suite of services that includes fiduciary, tax and philanthropic services and financial planning.

1980s:  In anticipation of our clients’ need to diversify their growing portfolios, we introduce international investment strategies.

1990s:  We begin to supplement our suite of proprietary investment products with external managers. This gives clients access to a wider range of investment styles and expertise, while allowing us to focus on our core investment strengths.

We also introduce private equity and hedge fund strategies, and a proprietary venture capital fund, to provide clients with unique opportunities for non-traditional sources of return.

In order to better serve our growing client base, we expand our presence beyond Philadelphia to include offices in Princeton and Morristown, New Jersey; Wilmington, Delaware; and Cleveland, Ohio. 

2000s:  Glenmede introduces quantitative investment strategies to give our clients more flexibility in defining and controlling the risk in their portfolios.

The Glenmede Investment Management LP is established to make our family of proprietary mutual funds and separately managed accounts available to a broader group of investors, including corporations, public plans, foundations, endowments and not-for-profit clients.

We formalize two long-standing practices, Endowment & Foundation, and Individual & Family Wealth, to better serve the unique needs of those clients.

Our New York City, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Palm Beach, Florida offices opened to serve clients and investment partners in these metropolitan areas.