Fred Penn, John Davis and John McFarland founded the organization in 1977, and Van Ogden joined in 1986. Our principals and founders reflect the stability, consistency and longevity of our entire firm.
Jeff Helfrich, Robert Felty and Charles Norton enhance the depth of our investment management professionals while ensuring and maintaining our unwavering commitment to our clients.
Kenni Hamilton, Fran Jenkins and Stacy Wulf complete our staff, with all continuing to provide the level of professionalism and personal attention clients have come to expect from Penn Davis McFarland.
Our investment committee consists of John Davis, Van Ogden, Jeff Helfrich and Charles Norton. They coordinate the management of all client portfolios. The primary client contacts are Fred Penn, John McFarland, Van Ogden and Robert Felty, though the entire firm is responsible to each client.
Mr. Penn is a native Dallasite with a life-long interest in finance and the stock market. Fred graduated from Southern Methodist University where he majored in Banking and Finance. After seventeen years at the First National Bank in Dallas, he became one of the founders of Penn Davis McFarland. In addition to being a retired Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, Fred has been President of the Boys and Girls Club of Dallas, the Dallas Summer Musicals, the American Heart Association (Dallas Chapter), and participated in many other civic aspects of the community. Fred’s primary focus is client relations.
Mr. Davis graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in Economics and English. He was subsequently employed by the First National Bank in Dallas, where he served as portfolio manager for a variety of trusts, as well as manager of two pooled equity funds. In 1973, John was a founder of Southland Trust Company and became Head of Investments. He left Southland Trust to form Penn Davis McFarland in 1977. John’s primary responsibility is portfolio management. He is a member of our Investment Committee.
Mr. McFarland graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Arts and Business Administration degree. John was a founder of Southland Trust Company and, later Penn Davis McFarland. John currently serves on the boards of Baylor Health Care System Foundation and the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, as trustee of the Chrystal Charity Ball Foundation, and is co-chairman of the SMU Meadows School capital campaign. John is President of Penn Davis McFarland. He focuses on client relations and manages all operational aspects of the firm.
Mr. Ogden has been with the firm since 1986 and became a partner in 1993. He is a CFA charterholder and holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining the firm, Van served as a personal trust officer with a large Dallas bank, now a part of Bank of America. While at the bank, he gained extensive experience in managing trust, real property, and financial assets, as well as estate and tax planning. Van’s primary responsibilities are portfolio management and client relations. He is a member of our Investment Committee.
Mr. Helfrich joined the firm in 2010. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Economics and is a CFA charterholder. He has been an equity research analyst with the Janus Capital Group, and Independence Capital Asset Partners, LLC in Denver, Co. Prior to joining Penn Davis McFarland, he was a research analyst for Perot Investments, the private investment company for the Perot family in Dallas. Jeff’s primary responsibility is investment research and portfolio management. He is a member of our Investment Committee.
Mr. Felty joined the firm in 2012. Prior to joining the Penn Davis McFarland, Robert worked for over thirty years with Bank of America, serving as a U.S. Trust client relationship manager. He has extensive trust, estate, private foundation, investment and banking experience. He also held trust department management positions with the bank. He holds both BBA and MBA degrees from Midwestern State University. Robert’s primary responsibilities for the firm are client relations and new business development.
Mr. Norton joined the firm in 2015. Previously, Charles managed multi-asset class portfolios as a senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Private Bank, where he also served as a senior analyst on the national equity research team covering consumer stocks. For 11 years prior, Charles was a founding principal of a long/short equity investment management firm, where he was responsible for portfolio management and investment research for all of the company’s managed assets. Previously, he was an analyst at a NYC-based hedge fund firm and a health care investment banker at Smith Barney. Charles is a CFA charterholder and has a BSM degree from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. Charles’ primary responsibility is investment research and portfolio management, and is a member of our investment Committee.
Ms. Hamilton joined the firm in 2005. Prior to joining Penn Davis McFarland, Kenni was a portfolio administrator for a Dallas investment firm for nine years. Her primary duties include the ongoing accounting for client portfolios, firm receptionist, administrative support for the principals and client relations.
Ms. Jenkins joined the firm in 2004. Fran is a native Dallasite. Prior to joining Penn Davis McFarland, she was a licensed agency trader for a brokerage firm for seventeen years. Fran’s primary responsibilities include the ongoing accounting for client portfolios.
Ms. Wulf joined the firm in 2007. Prior to joining Penn Davis McFarland, Stacy was the accountant for a family owned business and worked with special needs children in the Mesquite Independent School District. Stacy oversees the daily accounting needs of the firm’s clients who utilize our “Family Office” services.