John Rockefeller and Henry Flagler created the largest oil company in the world. Horrace Smith and Daniel Wesson launched the world’s biggest handgun corporation. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack founded the most innovative computer companies the world has ever seen.

In the Florida Keys, two guys with opposing personalities have just joined forces to bring the world’s markets to the people of Monroe County.

Peter Chapman and Mike Cardwell have operated independent financial firms for nearly ten years, but recently announced the consolidation of their services and experience into Chapman & Cardwell Capital Management.

While they have the same optimistic outlook on the market, they absorb and interpret current trends from different angles to offer their clients a bottomless well of information.

“Resources and research is absolute,” said Chapman. “And by combining our knowledge and experience, we will be able to leverage each other’s strengths to provide better service and advice for our clients’ investments.”

Chapman, the buttoned-up East Coaster, admits he is the “macro” in the equation – sizing up markets on a world scale. In a matter of seconds, he can shed light on America’s debt ratio and compare it to China’s Gross Domestic Product.

Across the table, sporting a shaved head and goatee is a Mike Cardwell, who once invaded Panama as an Army Ranger while serving his country. He taps rapidly on his iPhone while spewing financial facts.

“Pete is definitely more conservative,” he said. Operating as the firm’s “micro,” Cardwell follows breaking news and devises the most prudent plan to protect client’s assets. “I digest all current market trends and think, ‘Equity-wise, do we need to take gains off the table, take protection off?’ Basically, I am positioning our clients for maximum protection.”

Chapman, who tends to focus on the numbers and bottom line said, “I am pretty easy with my clients, and Mike is too. But he has the ability to say, ‘Listen, this is what we are doing right now.’”

“He asks for the money, I get the money,” quipped Cardwell.

“I am the finesse, he is the hammer,” said Chapman.

They have known each other for nearly ten years, having both relocated to the Florida Keys to open independent Edward Jones offices.

“Our biggest triumph has been navigating clients through the last two recessions without getting them blown up,” Cardwell said, referring to the “tech bubble” of the early 2000s and the current world financial crisis.

A year ago, they both launched their own asset management firms under the Wells Fargo umbrella with the intent of consolidating the two entities. The next step was to decide on a name and a simple coin flip settled the score. Chapman would be listed first.

“And the last bullet point in our agreement also says any contractual disputes will be settled with revolvers at eight paces,” joked Cardwell.

“It is a secure and exhilarating feeling to be apart of something bigger,” Chapman said of the merger. “Wells Fargo opened up the world to us. We have six research firms and they conflict. It is interesting to see why they differ.”

As early as last week, letters were sent out to current clients announcing the merger. Another financial advisor, Veronika Bunk, was hired to handle Key West clients and brings years of experience as an international markets analyst.

“She is actually from Germany and was educated in England,” said Chapman. “She experienced the meltdown firsthand on the international research desk at Bear Stearns in London. Now we got her.”

She joins two independent financial planners who understand the current economic climate and use research and experience to prepare their clients for the future.

“We all maintain a long term optimistic view of the world,” Cardwell affirmed. “We may have some bumpy times ahead, but a disciplined approach is still the way to go.”

Chapman & Cardwell in Key Largo is located at 103100 Overseas Highway and can be reached by dialing (305) 451-0408. The Marathon office is located at 65 53rd Street and can be contacted at (305) 743-6095.


Mike Cardwell (left) and Peter Chapman recently consolidated their financial investment firms to create Chapman & Cardwell Capital Management. They have two locations in the Florida Keys located in Key Largo and Marathon. 

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