We have now entered our fourth and final fiscal quarter in a year that will likely be remembered by many of us as transitional – in the economy, markets, our industry and at Jefferies. We moved from a long era of low rates to a more balanced world of capital having a real cost. This, and the end of stimulus across many countries, has had meaningful consequences in the real economy and in the capital markets. Credit Suisse and several larger U.S. regional banks will no longer be with us. Beyond the CS debacle, several of our other competitors have been facing business and cultural challenges, exacerbated by significant headwinds. Understandably and not surprisingly, Jefferies has performed at a lower absolute level, as reflected in our reported results for the first six months of the year. As we have done consistently when periods of dislocation and uncertainty occur, all of us at Jefferies do what we do best: Focus on our clients and enhance and expand our offense capabilities. It is never easy to play affirmative offense in difficult times, but we could not be more pleased with the progress that we have made this year in terms of adding incredible new senior professionals in many roles and regions that previously didn’t exist for Jefferies. Our new partners will bond well with our existing team and, while the resulting upside will come over time, there is no doubt people will look back at this period in wonder as to how we all achieved yet another new level of success in our ability to serve our global client base. We are psyched to enter 2024 as once again an even better than ever Jefferies. The future is up to us, and we like it that way.
What do we ask of you, our partners in the mission of assuring that Jefferies is the best and biggest pure-play investment banking and capital markets firm on the planet?
- Finish Strong. This fourth quarter is an opportunity to finish our year strong and to create momentum as we then enter fiscal 2024. The formula hasn’t changed, nor have the needs and demands of our clients – let’s please focus on and listen to our clients, deliver to them insight and the best of our entire firm, and execute flawlessly. Let’s please have the energy and drive to make the extra call, think the incremental idea and close the extra trade, deal or whatever you can do to add value for our clients and our firm. Our results could use a year-end push for all of our benefit, but more importantly to best set us up for what should be a very productive 2024.
- Prioritize. In addition to this daily focus, please also have a small handful of priorities against which you periodically and regularly measure yourself and your team. These priorities can be levels of performance or results; new ideas, opportunities or coverage that you or your team should be pursuing for the firm; or other initiatives to drive our growth. If we each aspire and make the effort, we collectively will see the results.
- Branding. We have renewed our efforts around further branding Jefferies. Recognition by others, particularly current and potential clients, of the breadth and depth of what we offer and the uniqueness of who we are, is still not close to what it can be. Much of this branding will come with time, effort and success, but we each can do our part in walking the talk and talking the brand in its essence and our reality. Please consume the ideas and information coming from our Marketing team and present and live the Jefferies brand in its current reality and substance.
- Keep Learning. All of us, including the two of us, can never know enough about the endless capabilities, talents, ideas, content, presence, relationships and on and on that abound at Jefferies. Please pause to get to know the folks around you and some of the ones that aren’t so close at hand. Knowing each other and each other’s capabilities is one way we can assure our clients get our best and our firm realizes the best of our opportunity.
- Play to Win. With all that Jefferies is today, we have no reason to settle and every reason to take the lead. With our yet further expanded capabilities and ever better brand, we are now entrenched in the major league and every one of us knows that we are capable of beating every other team if we work together and put our collective minds and energy to the task. And like any great team, we need to show up on the field every single day, playing shoulder to shoulder with our current teammates, welcoming and integrating our new joiners, and coming together as a single, unbeatable team. The flexibility offered by new technology is great, and we have been trusting each of you to do the right thing, but to maximize our performance we need everyone to be in the office whenever humanly possible, reinforcing and creating the synergies that are achievable from personal interaction, and benefiting from the professional and personal relationships that can only be attained in person. Summer is over and the game is in the most important quarter.
This fourth quarter and the years that will follow are about further actualizing and realizing on the Jefferies we have built together. It is an awesome and open-ended opportunity, and we ask each of you to join us in turning our potential into the fullest reality. This firm is your firm and our future. We have built it together and we couldn’t be more fortunate to have each other and the resources we have amassed. If we are right about the “green shoots” we are all starting to experience every day, these next periods will be incredibly gratifying for team Jefferies.
Sprinting with each of you toward the ’23 finish line,
Rich and Brian