Vaccines Are On The Way, But We Must Stay the Course and Protect Ourselves, Our Families and Each Other
Let's Remain Patient As Always, And Intensely Focused on Winning With Our Clients and Building Jefferies
One of Jefferies' great strengths is our ability to focus intensely on today with an incredible sense of urgency, while at the same time, thinking, acting and building for the long-term. Delicately balancing these two approaches to life and work, in our view, has been fundamental to who we are and whatever success we have enjoyed. At the beginning of our last fiscal year which ended last evening, we spoke about the performance of our firm over the last three decades and the goal that 2020 would begin this new decade delivering great progress and great results. Despite a long list of (unimaginable) challenges that came our way, we at Jefferies delivered and achieved results in 2020 that the two of us believe will prove foundational for the long rest of this decade and beyond. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks, but for now, we again want to say thank you, congratulations and well done!
The more important subject we want to address is the continuing Pandemic. The news regarding the efficacy of various vaccines is incredibly great and deeply heartening. The reality is that the approval, bulk manufacturing, mass fill and finish, global distribution and resulting herd impact of this great breakthrough will take some time. This doesn’t take away from the great news that desperately needed, game-changing assistance is indeed coming, but at the same time, the reality of what is happening in so many places compels us to remind all of you to protect our personal and professional homes until the pandemic truly begins to abate and the risk to each of us truly dissipates. We are thinking warmly of the days in the future when each of us gradually will begin to visit our Jefferies team offices around the globe and be able to spend time in person with each other and with our clients. That will be wonderful, but for now, we must make the best of the reality that for most all of us working from home is the smart and safe thing to do. Moreover, we strongly urge you to remain highly vigilant, wear a mask whenever in contact with others or otherwise outside your safe space, maintain social distancing and generally accept the fact that a much more limited life than we desire is for now the best way to protect the long lives that each of us treasure. Just like our reality of building Jefferies, surviving and moving beyond Covid-19 is a marathon and we must stay the course and avoid hitting the wall before we cross the finish line safely. Let none of us declare victory even seconds before we truly cross this line. The good health and safety of everyone at Jefferies and our families depends on this.
In 2020, we accomplished so much. In Investment Banking, we continued to broaden and deepen our effort, with enhanced leadership positions established in SPACs, Pandemic rescue financing, ECM everywhere, M&A broadly, restructuring yet again, deeper sectoral capabilities and many other aspects of the business. In Equities, we gained market share pretty much across-the-board and were recognized as the absolute best at helping our clients when they needed us most. Our research and strategy efforts continue to receive ever greater respect and appreciation from our clients, which is helping to drive the momentum of our business, and Jefferies has been recognized by relevant surveys for our value, quality and distinction. In Fixed Income we also broadened and deepened our relationships and our services across the spectrum of credit and macro products, going to the next level in so many places. Our support team went virtual, but never lost touch with the millisecond by millisecond needs of our clients and our team. With their support, we didn’t miss a beat, a trade or the resources needed to serve our clients. Around the world, we are one firm, Jefferies. Our longstanding and incredibly strong position in the U.S. is being leveraged daily globally. Our capabilities in Europe have grown to substantially mirror the breadth and depth of what we offer from the U.S. Our continuing expansion in Asia paid off meaningfully in 2020, with next-level success in Hong Kong/China, increasing market share in Japan, our growing presence in India and Southeast Asia, and our rapidly growing integrated franchise in Australia.
Today, we begin our new fiscal year 2021, the second year of the decade we believe will truly define Jefferies and our role in the world. Our business, client relationships, brand, market position and culture are stronger, bigger and better integrated and focused than ever. Our opportunity is to take this next level of foundation that we all rallied around in 2020 and build further quality, scale and durability in 2021. We continue to operate in an environment where clients crave unique insight and flawless execution. Not coincidentally, these are our core offerings and what we strive daily to provide our clients. We offer more and are better at it today than ever. Our competitors fall into several camps: some are behemoth U.S. bank holding companies that are compelled to regiment their troops and use scale as their defining value proposition; others are large institutions that got over their skis over the years and are still trying to find their balance, which ultimately may require them to operate on a much more limited basis; and a handful are “boutiques“ that try to market independence, but in reality are limited by their dependence on one capability and fall short against many client needs, as was evident in 2020. In sum, as a global full-service investment banking firm (not a financial institution or a bank holding company), Jefferies today is unique in the world in our focus, our nimbleness, our integrated service offering and our culture. We have spent decades amassing a talent base focused on investors, businesses and governments, and in 2020 we delivered more than ever for our clients. Finally, building and winning is fun, and despite all of the challenges and uncertainty of 2020, we have hugely enjoyed watching you shine this past year.
Patiently staying the course of safety and enthusiastically moving forward with our business,
Rich and Brian
P.S., Let’s please start our new fiscal year TODAY with renewed energy and focus, and build on our momentum, while we assure everyone at Jefferies is treated fairly for the efforts and results of 2020.