Net revenue at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. increased 13% in 2020 to $2.33 billion, marking the 11th straight year the company has achieved record revenues.
Operating income for the year also totaled a record $360 million for the employee-owned firm with a presence in wealth management, asset management, investment banking, capital markets and private equity.
“These strong outcomes are possible because of our platform of five complementary businesses,” said Steve Booth, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Baird. “With this model, the impact of market headwinds in one business unit is often offset by strength in one or more of the other business units. The strategic value of this deliberate structure proved out once again in 2020.”
The company reported that its private wealth management business ended the year overseeing $239 billion in client assets, up from $215 billion at the end of 2019.
Baird Advisors, the company’s fixed asset management group, ended the year with $112 billion in assets under management, up $25 billion.
The global investment banking group had its second-best year of revenues ever, outpacing 2019, which was the previous holder of that distinction.
The institutional equities and research team and Strategas, the company’s macro-economic research firm, both had record years.
Principal investments, including Baird’s private equity and strategic investment activities managed by Baird Capital, and Baird Principal Group both posted record results. Investment gains were driven by a rebound in market valuations and the performance of a diversified portfolio.
“Despite the challenges of 2020, Baird successfully held strong through the uncertainties,” Booth said. “Our strong culture and commitment to our clients and putting their needs first guided us through the year. This steadfast focus has been the cornerstone of how we do business since our founding in 1919.”