Employee-owned Robert W. Baird & Co. brings midwestern sensibility to the high-flying world of investment banking. The company offers brokerage, asset management, and investment banking services to middle-market corporations, institutional clients, and wealthy individuals and families. Its investment banking activities include underwriting and distributing corporate securities, mergers and acquisition advisory, and institutional sales and trading. The company also conducts equity research on more than 600 US firms. Baird manages more than $85 billion in client assets. The firm has more than 100 offices in the US, Asia, and Europe, where it owns 48% of Baird UK.
More than half of Robert W. Baird's locations are wealth management offices in the US. The company manages about 10 bond and equity mutual funds: Baird Advisors manages fixed income investments, while Baird Investment Management handles the equities side. Robert W. Baird also invests in private equity and venture capital.
The driving forces for the company's growth have been its wealth management and investment banking operations. Unlike many financial services firms, Baird has been adding staff and opening new offices in the US. Its client assets under management also grew by more than $10 billion in 2010.
The company has also turned to the East for its fortunes. Its private equity group recently has an office in Shanghai, hoping to capitalize on China's increasingly business-friendly environment. The outpost focuses on small, high-growth businesses that have been overlooked by other venture capitalists. Baird has also expanded its investment banking operations in the region.
Founded in 1919, Baird had been majority-owned by Northwestern Mutual since 1982. However, employees bought back the company's stock in a series of purchases that culminated in 2004. – less