The American College of Investment Counsel was founded in November 1981 by a group of ten lawyers, from both private practice and financial institutions, specializing in the area of major institutional investment financing to provide a forum for the discussion of legal issues arising in this area and to provide educational programs on these issues for its members. By its 35th anniversary in 2016, membership had grown to include members from insurance companies, law firms, and other service providers from throughout the United States as well as members based in Canada and Europe. As of 2019, the organization has more than 400 members representing over 300 law firms and institutions and continues to grow and maintain its mission of serving as a central forum for legal professionals specializing in the area of major institutional investment financing.
The original Board of Trustees of the College consisted of Willis McDonald, IV, of New York, President; Peter B. Trumbull of Hartford, President-Elect; Joel Martin Hartstone of Hartford, Secretary/Treasurer; Donal A. Kinney of Newark, Vice President; Gary G. Benanav of Hartford; George K. Fenn, Jr. of New York; Frank J. Mooney of Chicago; John F. Olson of Washington, D.C.; Susan K. Reiter of New York; and Cecil Wray, Jr. of New York.
The College was incorporated by a special act of the Connecticut Legislature in 1982 and the Purposes of the College are summarized in Article First of its Charter.