n the early ‘80’s, interest rates were over 11% for extremely short term paper. One-year AA debt was 15%. These rates had not been seen in the U.S. for quite some time. Overnight (checking) accounts had millions of dollars awaiting deployment, but up to 400 basis points was just 12 months away. CFOs had a need for a six-month cash cushion and a predictable, even cash flow. The table was set.
Cash accounts could be reasonably laddered to take advantage of the interest rate spreads.
This simple approach, understanding both the clients needs and the markets, created opportunity. It also created the beginnings the Illuminated Funds Group, dba Lincoln Capital Management, an SEC registered investment advisory business that peaked at $440 million in assets under management by the late 1990’s.
More experience was needed to be a truly well-rounded business consultancy. James Lincoln, founder and principal, layered on venture capital expertise in the early ‘90s. A private fund was formed and over the next ten years a pool of portfolio companies was created. The breadth of the companies chosen was broad, with choices in media, investment, finance, real estate development, agriculture, consumer products, and software. This fund continues today, with links to several companies highlighted here.
Beginning in 1999, expertise in the entire real estate spectrum was added, including development, finance, acquisition, design and construction, management, leasing, and disposition.
In 2012, James helped construct, and for several years managed, the Community Impact Loan Fund at the Arizona Community Foundation. James currently assists Common Spirit Health with its $400 million Impact Loan Fund, deploying low-cost, risk-tolerant, social-facing financing across 21 states. From 2015-2019, James was the Director of Equity Initiatives at Chicanos Por La Causa, assisting in the management of the Futuro Equity Fund.
James also has experience in governance and strategy, having been elected to numerous corporate boards. Board service is, or has been, with for-profit (public and private) and non-profit (endowed foundations and operating) companies.