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Robert Van Kampen

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Robert Van Kampen
Robert D. Van Kampen

(1938-12-16)December 16, 1938
DiedOctober 29, 1999(1999-10-29) (aged 60)
EducationWheaton College
Known forFounder of Van Kampen Investments and First Trust
RelativesRobert Pierre (grandson)

Robert D. Van Kampen (December 16, 1938 – October 29, 1999) was an American businessman, who served as a member of various organizational boards in the business world and Christian ministry.

Van Kampen's business career took him into the investment banking world, and he became one of the wealthiest men in the United States after founding the investment banking firm Van Kampen Merritt (later renamed to Van Kampen Investments) in 1974. In 1991, he founded another firm named Nike Securities which was later renamed to First Trust.

Business career[edit]

Van Kampen was born on December 16, 1938, in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Van Kampen was educated at Wheaton Academy in West Chicago and Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, graduating in 1960. After graduation he worked at Nuveen as a bond salesman where he was known as "The Charger" due to his ambition and drive. [1][2]

In 1967, Van Kampen left Nuveen over a compensation dispute and co-founded an investment banking firm, Van Kampen, Wauterlek & Brown which was later renamed to Clayton Brown & Associates.[2][3] In 1974, he left the firm to found another firm, Van Kampen Merritt that was later acquired by Xerox in 1984.[4]

From 1980 to 1992, Van Kampen was also a partner in VMS Realty.[1]

In September 1991, Van Kampen founded another firm named Nike Securities in Chicago. It would be later renamed to First Trust.[3][4]

Religious views[edit]

As an evangelical Christian, Van Kampen was known for applying biblical principles to the running of his business, and there was a strict code of personal conduct among his many employees. Divorce was frowned upon and the drinking of hard liquor discouraged.[2]

In the 1990s, Van Kampen developed what is known today in evangelical Christian eschatology as the "Pre-Wrath” rapture position, authoring three books on the subject.[1][2]

His family foundation owns one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America, which was housed in the Scriptorium at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1963 Van Kampen married, and he and his wife had three children. Having initially lived in Wheaton, Illinois, Van Kampen made his home in West Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, and West Michigan. Van Kampen died on October 29, 1999, at the age of 60 in Loyola University Medical Center while waiting for a heart transplant.[1]

Christian singer Robert Pierre, son of Van Kampen's daughter Karla and Scott Pierre, is Van Kampen's grandson.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e William H Honan (November 4, 1999). "Robert Van Kampen, Investor And Bible Collector, Dies at 60". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  2. ^ a b c d e "FINANCIER COLLECTED WEALTH OF HOLY TEXTS". Chicago Tribune. 2001-08-16. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  3. ^ a b "Clayton Brown, who ran municipal bond firm, dies at 95". Chicago Tribune. 2023-11-28. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  4. ^ a b "Nike Securities completes the purchase of Clayton Brown's unit trust division". American Banker. 1991-10-02. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  5. ^ Pinsky, Mark (2 November 2006). "A voice of faith ; Windermere's Robert Pierre uses his singing talent to spread the gospel, but will his voice break before his career lifts off?". Orlando Sentinel. ProQuest 280362953.

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