In 1982, Breeden co-founded Smith Breeden Associates Inc., a money management firm for pension accounts, foundations, mutual funds and separate accounts. Smith Breeden Associates also consults with banks and savings and loans, specializing in mortgages and interest risk hedging. In 1999, he stepped down as CEO of Smith Breeden Associates and returned to teaching and research at Kenan-Flagler. He continued as chairman of Smith Breeden Associates until 2005. Now he is Chairman Emeritus of the firm.
Breeden is also the chairman and principal owner of Community First Financial Group, a bank holding company.