When you stop and reflect on your life, I believe you would want to know that you positively impacted people’s lives and influenced change for others. As I had the opportunity to look behind the curtain at a major Wall Street wirehouse for more than 19 years, there were important areas my team and I needed to address if we were going to continue to serve the best interests of our ultra-high-net-worth clients. Areas such as conflicts of interest inherent in large banking institutions, lack of choice in the investment selection process, and research focused only on the consensus stocks, limited our ability to implement the best decision for our clients. Stifel, which opened its doors 130 years ago, employs an investment platform that does not limit fund choice while providing a competitive cost structure to the client. Additionally, Stifel has grown its net revenues for 24 consecutive years, working in its clients’ best interest and focused on wealth management and investment banking. Think about that for a minute – 24 years of multiple investment and economic cycles, and yet this middle-market firm has continued to create a legacy for its shareholders every year. That is impact.
I am pleased my team made the transition to Stifel, as we are on the front lines of helping shape the next 20 years. As a firm with more than $300 billion in assets, Stifel has maintained its focus in two distinct areas: investment banking and wealth management. Over the last decade, Stifel has led the industry in investment banking transactions under $1 billion in size. That is our clientele. Clients want to know you can truly walk with them on their financial journey and help guide them through every aspect of their financial life. “Old Wall” firms only want billion-dollar transactions, and that is corporate America, not the entrepreneurs who sustain our nation’s economy. Stifel has built the firm to be best in class in the areas that matter to clients. It is not commonly known, but Stifel maintains the industry’s largest equity research group, focused on covering companies others choose not to follow. Old Wall firms play it safe, covering the largest market cap names – which happen to be their investment banking prospects – and their research platforms aim to identify investment banking opportunities.
A key element to a successful model is managing the conflicts of interest and identifying companies that provide growth opportunities in which clients of that firm can invest. Stifel’s unique ability to focus on companies with market caps under $1 billion provides tremendous upside possibilities in which our research has direct insight. Clients look to their advisors to take those resources and help them build a strategy to successfully navigate the markets. As most indexes are built on the market caps of individual equities, it is no wonder that Old Wall clients are frustrated with returns, and many choose to simply index their holdings, as the holdings covered by their research department are already the major components of indexes.
In many ways, Stifel has given our team a home. Our team was founded on trust and integrity and strengthened through personal relationships, and Stifel is a firm that values both its clients and its advisors, providing us the flexibility to look both inside and outside the firm for the best opportunities for investment for our clients. We believe in what will IMPACT our clients and allow them to pursue their dreams during their lifetime.