Reviewing Our First 40 Years On Wall Street, Perhaps A Good Start….

Reviewing Our First 40 Years On Wall Street, Perhaps A Good Start….

Dear Clients, Teammates, and Friends of Jefferies,

The two of us have each spent roughly the past 40 years chasing our professional dreams on Wall Street. It’s been an epic journey in some ways, but in others, it feels like we are just getting started. For whatever miraculous reason, we both found our respective Wall Street stories, indeed probably our entire lives, to be the beneficiaries of being in the right places at the right time, where opportunity was expansive, and hard work and merit ruled the day. At times, each of us leapt (or were pushed) out of our comfort zones, and we found the result was always the opportunity to do more than we previously thought we were capable of achieving. We have been allowed to perform at our own highest levels, and to be rewarded fairly (emotionally and otherwise) when we and our Firm do well. The blessings that we have received in these regards serve as our motivation and commitment to do the same for everyone that works with us at our Firm.   

We write this monthly note to all of you with the thought we might help you reflect on your own career path and aspirations, and what is important to you. A worthy goal for the month of July may be for each of us to spend a little time sharing some important learned lessons with our future leaders. To get the ball rolling, here are a few lessons we have learned along the way:

  1. Life and professional success is first and foremost about who you are with. Our career decisions have been good ones because we chose to work with excellent people who were not only extremely capable, but also had the highest level of moral character and inner substance. The right partners always make you better and more confident, and you never have to waste precious time or energy watching your back.
  2. People are our essence. We are in the business of ideas and execution and it will be a long time, if ever, before AI alone will deliver this value. The people of Jefferies are Jefferies, and our Firm only succeeds to its fullest when all of us deliver to our best ability. Teamwork, communication and delivering the best of Jefferies defines and brands us. We will always remember that the names of the people with whom we team up with are more important than the name on our building.
  3. Building and winning is fun. We have been fortunate that Jefferies has been able to achieve exceptional growth, which has given us psychic and other rewards beyond our expectations. Life is better when you are moving forward and meeting the next challenge. Humans are built for growth and while there are always temporary setbacks, if we don’t keep generally moving forward, significant decline is inevitable. Winning is fun.
  4. Winners never quit. We have been blessed to have great opportunities and exceptional partners. The thought of quitting on each other or our other partners and friends has never once entered our minds. When the going gets tough, the people we prefer to hang out with just watch each other’s backs and forge ahead. Never letting our amazing partners down, no matter how tough things can get, has served as one of our deepest sources of energy, motivation and drive.
  5. It’s still early. In some ways, putting in the years and decades of hard work gives you renewed energy and freshness for today. When we are at our respective desks or visit our offices around the globe, we marvel at the talent, breadth, diversification and power of the Firm we find ourselves working at today. Because of all our Firm has become, we both feel like we are starting fresh all the time. Only this time, we are starting at a level that we were never sure we would see in a Firm that started out so specialized and limited in focus. Starting today again, at this new level, with all of the relationships, capital, partnerships and talent is akin to a new birth. New dawns are exciting, and just considering the potential from here onward is beyond inspiring to both of us.
  6. Jefferies has purpose. Our Firm helps create and build businesses, we drive investment returns for real people, and we use our brand and platform to support folks in distress or otherwise in need. Our team is compassionate, caring and generous. A good business without purpose is a good business. A good business with purpose is unstoppable.
  7. Pride feels good, but arrogance will do harm. We indeed are incredibly proud of what Jefferies is today, the people of Jefferies, and the position we have achieved together in the world. We are motivated to make Jefferies even better and more capable. We must always guard against even a drop of arrogance spilling into Jefferies. Life and Wall Street firms are fragile.
  8. Our diverse team has so much in common. The two of us have been travelling constantly around the globe to visit our 47 offices in 21 different countries. Languages, educational backgrounds, customs, religions and local politics could not be more diverse. That said, everywhere we go we see the same core values within the people at our Firm. The common denominators are honesty, integrity, dedication, creativity, commitment, caring, tenacity and teamwork. The bonds and culture within Jefferies have become contagious and, at this point, it has little to do with the two of us. That is the best part, because when it becomes pervasive and ingrained, it finally becomes real and durable.
  9. We have much more work to do to increase our diversity. We have come a long way in this regard, and our employee resource groups are successfully and wonderfully helping us lead the charge. That said, we have much more work to do here and believe we are all up to the task to achieve further progress in smart and deliberate ways.
  10. Doing what is right is easiest and best, always. The facts are always easiest to remember if you tell the truth. When you go to bed at night, the pillow is always more comfortable if you tell the truth. You can spring out of bed a little faster if you always tell the truth. A firm built by people with strong character is a robust enterprise. Integrity and transparency, always.

There is so much more to do, and it seems the hours in the day, the days in the week, and the months in the year are now going by faster than ever. That tends to happen when your excitement in the opportunity at hand grows and the number of minutes in an hour stay the same. We wish everyone a wonderful and prosperous summer and hopefully we can all reflect a little on our own careers and share some perspectives with those around us.

Thank you from the forty-year rookies,

Rich and Brian

CEO, Jefferies Financial Group
[email protected]
@handlerrich Twitter | Instagram
he, him, his

President, Jefferies Financial Group
[email protected]
he, him, his