What Did You Think About During the Long Labor Day Weekend…
We love a long Labor Day Weekend to relax and recharge our batteries as we prepare to jump back into the game to strongly finish our fourth and final quarter of fiscal year 2019. That said, with the extra time on our hands, when we weren’t with our family and friends, we found a lot to reflect upon. Today, there is a lot of volatility, unpredictability and confusion throughout the global financial markets. One could have easily lapsed into moments of concerned thoughts about China trade negotiations, the imminent potential of a “Hard Brexit,” potential conflicts with Iran or North Korea, contagious negative interest rates, a potentially inverted yield curve signaling an approaching recession, a politically divided United States with oncoming elections or a raging fire in the Amazon rainforests. Yes, today there seems to be no shortage of things to ponder over a long weekend. All this said, we would like to share with all of you what both of us reflected upon this weekend when we weren’t in front of the barbecue or talking with family and friends:
We thought about how fortunate every one of the direct client-facing revenue-generating employee-partners at Jefferies truly is because of all the amazing people that support us daily.
With our constant day-to-day pressures to serve our clients, it is very easy to forget all the people who form a “cocoon of assistance and protection” around the rest of us that enables us to get our jobs done while simultaneously protecting and guarding the franchise which has taken literally generations to establish, nurture, build and develop. Let's start by acknowledging our executive assistants who work tirelessly to anticipate exactly what we need to best serve our clients and balance our complicated lives. They are courteous, dedicated, smart and dependable in carrying out their myriad of responsibilities. Then there are the folks in Technology, Operations and the Middle Office who form the foundation and backbone of how our company literally functions. They are available on a moment’s notice when needed, constantly innovate and adapt to an ever-changing world, and serve as the vital connection to our clients on the front-end and the back-end of all we do. We would be nowhere without the dedicated and competent legal and compliance professionals that come to work globally at Jefferies. Our firm has a unique relationship with our legal and compliance professionals because we don’t view them as the enemy, but rather as partners who make sure everything we do is correct and proper. They are prudent, conservative, pay attention to detail and are totally dedicated to protecting all of us. They are also smart and commercial and always look for the right way to do things to serve our clients versus easily just saying “no.” Our Finance and Control team makes sure we come in every day and can be assured that everything we did the day prior is accounted for correctly and in accordance with all the numerous rules and regulations that exist around the world. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into quarters, and then the years go by. Knowing we have a strong army of control minded professionals who ensure all our numbers accurately represent our economic condition and performance makes us all sleep better at night. Our Treasury department works diligently to ensure that our assets are funded with more than adequate amounts of capital and we always have sufficient surplus cash on hand so that we feel fully protected in the event of a repeat of the horrors of the financial crisis. There is a reason why Jefferies did not require a “bailout” when so many larger firms did. Our Risk professionals mostly sit amongst all of us and on a minute by minute basis monitor, measure and help us manage the credit, market and operational risks we are taking. Over the years the product offerings we show our clients have become broader and significantly more complex and our mathematically minded risk people have kept up with the challenge every step of the way. They also understand that risk goes way beyond math, as the human element is equally important. Our various HR professionals deal with everything from on-boarding new hires to our medical and pension plans and more recently have served us all by working with us to develop numerous and new training programs. Many members of our Tax department are well known to many of us. Not only do they ensure we pay our fair share of taxes in the various jurisdictions in which we operate, but we frequently call on them to assist with providing relevant input into some of the advice we give our clients. Our Corporate and Business services staff make sure that the lights come on in the morning - literally. We rely on them to ensure moves to new office space go as smoothly as possible, industry events run seamlessly and that we get the best deals on all our business travel from hotels, airlines and the like. And last but certainly not least, let’s remember our marketing team that strives every day to ensure our clients and the world see us at our very best.
Generally most of these support teams do not get a lot of attention because almost always things go smoothly and most of us only notice the rare times when something goes wrong. Every one of these professionals deserve to be noticed and thanked not just today, but every day. Let’s all make this a priority together.
Happy to be charging into our fourth quarter with all of you and knowing that our support teams always have our fronts, backs and sides.
Rich and Brian