FWBP Top 100: Bradley Bruce, Wildcatter Award

Bradley Bruce (Photo by Amber Shumake)

Bradley Bruce earned his first paycheck at an early age and liked the idea of having his own money, so as he grew up he figured out how to make more.

“My first job was picking squash and tomatoes as a 9-year-old,” he recalled. “From then on, I was hooked on the cash flow.”

Bruce has been in the wealth management business since 1988. In 2021 he started his own company, mFORCE Capital – and his willingness to take risks and accept challenges in the world of business earned him the FWBP Top 100 Wildcatter Award.

Asked about early influences on his life and career, Bruce said that he was heavily inspired by his grandfather, Harlan Gaines. Bruce said Gaines was a “trader of anything.”

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“I watched him trade livestock, property, or just about anything of value. He would have the foresight to trade two to five different items to get to the trade that was important to him,” Bruce said. “It was meaningful as a young teenager to get to watch him satisfy several people by helping them while getting in position to get what he was after.”

In his third year of college, Bruce discovered business school and it clicked: he knew what he was supposed to do.

“Once the understanding of the markets sunk in, I was hooked,” he said.

But being successful is more than knowing how money moves and how to move it around, he said. Genuinely caring about clients, associates and culture are a must, he stressed.

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Bruce said he’s learned many lessons on his journey to becoming an independent business owner. The biggest one?

“I think going from a big corporate environment to an independent space where one’s identity and risk tolerance is questioned and scrutinized,” he said. “At some point, if you don’t bet on yourself, then you will second-guess your decision, letting fear of losing that title or staying at the low risk/reward be the driver,” he said.

His greatest obstacle, he said, was “working in a relationship business after moving into an area that I had no relationships.”

As for how he handled it, he said, “I immersed myself into the community in areas that I had a passion or belief in. I surrounded myself with new relationships and friends – people that reflected my interest.”

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And what advice would he offer to new CEOs and top executives?

“Be decisive in your leadership while being a good listener to your people,” he said, noting that the biggest challenge facing someone pursuing a business career in today’s world is “too much everyday noise and short-term reactions.”

He’s never forgotten the joy he got from working on the farm as a youngster, so when asked what other career he might like to try …

“I grew up on a farm of cows, chickens, and crops,” he said. “I would still like to be in the cattle business when profits don’t really matter.”