2021 Annual Report
Baird is a privately held, employee-owned financial services firm. Since our founding in 1919, we’ve built a strong platform of five complementary businesses that diversify and balance our revenues across market cycles.
More than two-thirds of our associates are Baird shareholders. Ownership is broadly distributed across all levels of the firm.
Baird net revenues
Private Wealth Management
This past year was a highly successful one for both Baird Private Wealth Management and the clients we serve. Whether the economy and the markets are enjoying a strong year or a challenging one, the long-term, employee-owned, conservative way we manage our business continues to focus on doing what is best for you, our clients.
Since 1919, we’ve tailored our capabilities with our clients’ best interest at the forefront. This past year was no different and led us to expand our wealth management offerings with the goal of addressing the unique needs of our clients and their families. We continued to address concerns around family wealth by developing customized solutions for our ultra-high-net-worth clients, including multigenerational families, foundations and endowments. Last year also saw the former Hilliard Lyons Trust rebranded to Baird Trust, which further integrates our vision for the future. Baird Trust provides our clients the ability to grow, protect and transfer their wealth in a way that holds true to their values.
For clients who own a business, Baird’s Business Owner Solutions team provides services like valuation, succession planning, and mergers and acquisitions. To help our clients capitalize on short-term financial opportunities while keeping their longer-term goals in place, our Liquidity Solutions offering provides additional peace of mind when clients need access to cash.
We are constantly investing in expertise that can help our clients discover the best strategies that meet their distinct needs at any life stage. Our Wealth Solutions Group, a team of more than 120 experienced professionals, offers our advisors expertise in areas like portfolio strategies, core financial, tax and estate planning, liquidity, insurance solutions and charitable giving, as well as complex planning solutions for families and business owners. Baird’s Financial Advisors also have ready access to Strategas, one of the world’s leading macroeconomic and global markets firms, for cutting-edge research that can inform our clients’ investment and financial decisions.
Our long-term approach extends to leadership as well. As the new year began, Erik Dahlberg, the longtime Executive Director of PWM and member of Baird’s Executive Committee, stepped into the role of President of PWM, while Mike Schroeder transitioned to Chairman of PWM. This move continues a partnership that has been in place for decades and emphasizes Baird’s continuity for clients well into the future.
To further cultivate talent, in 2021 we unveiled the first-ever Baird Scholars program in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This program invests in the next generation of youth with the purpose of building a diverse pipeline of future advisors at Baird. Ten students from underrepresented backgrounds will receive a scholarship, housing assistance, mentorship and hands-on experience in our PWM business. Our commitment to our communities remains of high importance to us, and this program is one more way we highlight the Baird Difference.
IN ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT
Baird’s Asset Management division consists of Baird Advisors, our fixed income asset management business, and Baird Equity Asset Management. Baird Funds, our no-load family of 10 bond and six equity funds, achieved the milestone of reaching $100 billion in assets for the first time in 2021.
For the 10th consecutive year, both Baird Advisors and Baird Equity Asset Management have been named to Pensions & Investments’ list of the Best Places to Work in Money Management. Baird is one of only five companies to have appeared on the list every year since its introduction in 2012.
Baird Advisors’ suite of actively managed products delivered competitive results relative to our benchmarks and peers once again in 2021. While the economy rebounded from the pandemic, our risk controlled, time-tested approach to investing, which has helped guide our clients through every major market event over the past 20 years, continued to serve them well. As always, we took the long view, focusing on competitive, long-term performance that supports our clients’ investment goals, which has been a tremendous asset to riding out the economic volatility we have endured in the past two years.
We believe that investors own higher-quality bonds, especially in a relatively low-rate environment, to dampen volatility and normalize overall portfolio returns, not to create excitement. That approach served us well in 2021, when three of our funds – the Aggregate Bond Fund, Short-Term Bond Fund and Ultra Short Bond Fund – earned prestigious Gold ratings from Morningstar, while the Core Plus Bond Fund earned a Silver rating.1
The team’s consistent focus on long-term competitive performance and strong client relationships resulted in a record year of growth for Baird Advisors, which ended the year with more than $130 billion in assets under management. Baird Advisors’ approach to fixed income investing is nationally recognized, with the team members’ expertise frequently being cited in both industry and national media, including Barron's and The Wall Street Journal.
IN ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT
One of the most significant developments for the Baird Advisors team during 2021 was the elevation of Warren Pierson to Co-Chief Investment Officer alongside Mary Ellen Stanek. Warren has been with our team for more than 28 years, and also serves as a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager for the Baird Funds.
Mary Ellen Stanek, who is also President of the Baird Funds, was a nominee for the 2021 Morningstar Outstanding Portfolio Manager Award and was named one of Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance. Altogether, our team consists of 67 highly experienced professionals with an average of nearly 20 years of experience, including 28 individuals who have earned their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Several of our managers have been with Baird Advisors since its inception in 2000. We are grateful for the longevity of our core group, which remains focused on keeping our clients’ interests foremost and investing in our team as our business continues to grow.
ON THE BAIRD ADVISORS TEAM
The newest members of our family of municipal funds, the Baird Strategic Municipal Bond Fund and Baird Municipal Bond Fund, will mark their third anniversaries this year. Our muni team, led by industry veterans Duane McAllister and Lyle Fitterer, managed over $10 billion in municipal assets at year-end.
Baird Equity Asset Management
Our Equity Asset Management teams manage strategies and mutual funds for individual and institutional investors. Each of the teams is staffed with experienced professionals with a deep expertise in targeted areas of the equity markets. All share the objective of delivering strong performance and exceptional service to our clients. Our time-tested investment philosophies and processes, with their focus on consistency and purity of style, aim to deliver high-conviction active management. Our assets under management have more than doubled since 2018.
The Baird MidCap Fund entered the year having just celebrated its 20th anniversary. It is one of the longest running mid-cap growth mutual funds with the same portfolio manager since inception. Our newest equity fund, Baird’s Small/Mid Cap Growth Fund, recently passed its three-year anniversary and has been delivering strong, top quartile returns since inception. The fund has seen strong growth in assets under management.
Chautauqua Capital Management, our international and global growth team, reached a milestone in April of 2021 when their funds reached their five-year anniversary, and their International Growth Fund achieved Morningstar’s Bronze rating for the first time.1 The Specialized Asset Management (SAM) team, which manages customized portfolios for high-net-worth clients on behalf of Baird Financial Advisors, had another strong year in 2021 and has seen its assets under management more than double in the past two years, reaching $3.7 billion in 2021.
The successes that Baird Asset Management achieved in 2021 were the result of our decades-long focus on serving our clients above all else. In both challenging and strong markets, our teams have delivered not just solid results but stability and peace of mind for our clients.
UNDER MANAGEMENT WITH THE SPECIALIZED ASSET MANAGEMENT TEAM
FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL MUTUAL FUNDS
1 © 2022 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete, or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Fixed Income Capital Markets
Baird’s Fixed Income Capital Markets group is composed of our Sales & Trading and Public Finance teams. Our Sales & Trading team provides fixed income bond investment products, ideas, analysis and trade execution for institutional clients, while our Public Finance professionals offer underwriting, advisory, consultant and placement agent services to clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Sales & Trading
As our Sales & Trading team regained its footing from the upheavals of the previous year, we focused on not just surviving but building out the core of our business. Continuing the transition to a business model that was a hybrid of work-from-home and being back in the office, we strengthened our client relationships and reaffirmed our commitment to the fixed income business, delivering expertise in a full range of fixed income securities to our clients.
One focus in 2021 was building out our team, adding 16 professionals to our platform to bring our total staff to more than 150 sales, trading and analytics professionals who serve clients from 23 offices across the U.S. Our new professionals carry not only exceptional fixed income credentials, but a strong alignment with Baird’s cultural values, particularly our client focus and teamwork.
In the end, 2021 proved to be one of our strongest years ever, as we continued to provide value-added insights, exceptional service and quality trading execution for our clients. The face value of the taxable and tax-exempt bonds we traded reached $260 billion, our second-highest figure on record.
IN THE U.S. FOR 13 CONSECUTIVE YEARS1
IN BONDS TRADED BY THE SALES & TRADING TEAM
Baird’s Public Finance team was the No. 1 municipal underwriter in the U.S. for the 13th consecutive year in 2021, based on number of issues.1 We also ranked among the top five municipal advisors nationwide, also based on number of issues.2 Clients across the country turned to Baird to refinance existing bond issues and access lower costs of capital, as interest rates remained relatively low throughout 2021. The team’s commitment to delivering innovative, tailored solutions resulted in issues from 40 different states.
Our team of 88 professionals serves clients from 20 offices in 13 states. This structure enables us to deliver the benefits of a national presence combined with a regionalized, sector-driven expertise. We also continued to deepen our capabilities in the education market with the addition of two key senior bankers: Brian Kelso, a managing director in our Denver office working primarily with charter schools, and Annette Folmar, who joined our team in San Antonio.
1Based on number of issues from 2009 to 2021, according to Ipreo MuniAnalytics.
2According to Ipreo MuniAnalytics as of December 31, 2021.
WITH ISSUES FROM BAIRD PUBLIC FINANCE
Equity Capital Markets
Global Investment Banking
Global Investment Banking provides advisory and financing services to clients around the world. After the disruption of a global pandemic, we achieved our strongest year ever in 2021. In an unprecedented market environment, Baird stretched and delivered for its clients. Leveraging the qualities that make our firm unique – teamwork, creativity, deep sector expertise and close client relationships – Baird’s global team of investment bankers delivered truly extraordinary outcomes for both clients and the firm in 2021.
We completed 404 advisory and financing transactions over the course of the year, which was nearly double our previous record. This total included 207 merger & acquisition deals worth a combined $102 billion, and 133 financings that raised a combined $77.7 billion. All four of those figures represent annual records for Baird Global Investment Banking.
All told, by year end, Global Investment Banking had earned more than two-and-a-half times the revenue of our prior annual high. In fact, the revenue from the fourth quarter of 2021 alone exceeded our previous high for an entire year.
In order to fully serve our clients in the face of all this growth, we added over 130 new bankers to our team over the course of the year. Our team takes a unique approach to investment banking, operating as one global team on a single profit-and-loss statement. This distinctive structure fosters a truly unique culture at Baird – one that values integrity, teamwork, innovation and client focus. We will continue to support our team as they advance in their careers and continue to create an inclusive environment that values our team’s diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and skill sets.
We expanded our offerings by launching the Capital Advisory Group, which partners with Baird’s industry and M&A bankers to deliver a broad range of highly customized solutions across the spectrum of debt, equity and hybrid securities. The division also launched a Restructuring Advisory practice focused on advising corporate and financial sponsor clients on their capital structure-related challenges, and added senior industry banking talent in Europe.
IN M&A TRANSACTIONS COMPLETED BY BAIRD GLOBAL INVESTMENT BANKING
As the world began to recover from the global pandemic, Baird continued to serve as a trusted, effective equities partner to our clients in a year when the equity markets delivered strong performance. The strength of our client relationships was bolstered by our continuing investment in our talent. Our Sales & Trading team grew to a total of approximately 110 associates in 2021, doing business in 35 countries around the globe.
Meanwhile, our Equity Research team, consisting of 95 analysts, covered more than 750 stocks at year-end. We once again received high marks in the 2021 Greenwich Associates survey1, our 18th consecutive year of recognition.
- No. 1 overall quality in sales, corporate access and research
- No. 1 best trading for small/mid-cap equities among mid-market research firms
- No. 1 overall sales and corporate access quality
- No. 1 greatest knowledge of companies and industries
The research team’s industry-renowned insights are complemented by macro research from Strategas, a Baird company, which was recognized by Institutional Investor as a top macro research firm on Wall Street for the fifth consecutive year. Strategas also adds 34 equity analysts and Sales & Trading associates of its own to bolster the efforts of our team.
STOCKS UNDER RESEARCH COVERAGE
Through our investor conferences, Baird arranged more than 20,000 company-investor connections via company visits, 1-1 meetings at Baird conferences and management trips to institutional clients. Again in 2021, our institutional conference series also earned the No. 1 ranking for most useful conferences and seminars in Greenwich Associates’ survey.1
1Greenwich Associates’ 2021 surveys of North American Equity Investors. Surveys conducted with 95 small-cap and mid-cap fund managers, 138 generalist portfolio managers and 236 traders. Rankings for qualitative metrics based on leading research firms in surveys
Baird’s Principal Investments group includes three investment strategies:
Makes direct investments through proprietary funds in emerging and lower middle-market companies.
BAIRD PRINCIPAL GROUP
Makes minority co-investments in middle-market private companies.
Makes equity investments in third-party financial services entities that complement Baird’s capabilities and strategic limited partner investments in third-party funds.
Since 1989, Baird Capital has raised and invested capital in high-potential companies through a series of private equity and venture capital partnerships. Baird is a meaningful investor in the Baird Capital funds, whose other investors include third-party institutions, high-net-worth clients and qualified Baird associates. Since inception, Baird Capital and related legacy entities have raised and managed approximately $3.9 billion and made investments in more than 330 companies.
In 2021, despite continued uncertainty driven by the ongoing pandemic, Baird Capital embraced opportunity around the world. Amidst the year’s unsteady market, our team redoubled its focus on our thesis-driven investment strategies. We deployed fresh capital across our funds through $105 million in eight new investments and $33 million in 16 follow-on investments. We also distributed an aggregate of approximately $190 million back to our investors, primarily from the exits of four investments. Baird Capital’s portfolio companies had combined annual revenues of over $1.6 billion and employ approximately 12,500 people.
Baird Capital works as one global platform, partnering across the world to support our portfolio. In addition to financial capital, we provide our portfolio companies with a network of resources like operating advisors and human capital capabilities to support their growth. We manage two investment platforms: Global Private Equity and U.S. Venture Capital.
RAISED AND MANAGED SINCE INCEPTION
INVESTED IN BY BAIRD CAPITAL SINCE INCEPTION
Global Private Equity
With a focus on the technology services and industrial solutions sectors, our Global Private Equity platform invests in lower middle-market companies across the U.S., U.K. and Asia. This affords us great flexibility in where we deploy capital and enables us to provide investors with geographic diversification.
In July of 2021, Baird Capital announced the final close for our Global Fund II, with over $340 million in committed capital. Our Global Private Equity team completed two new platform investments and four follow-on investments during the year, deploying a total of $78 million. Shortly after year end we closed one new platform deal and have a second new platform under a Letter of Intent currently undergoing due diligence.
U.S. Venture Capital
Our Venture Capital platform invests in mid-stage companies in the business-to-business technology and services sectors. We focus on companies in underserved geographies, with a particular interest in the middle section of the country. We enjoyed a record investment year in 2021, deploying $60 million in six new platforms and 14 follow-on investments, exceeding our previous record of $57 million from 2020.
Several of our Venture portfolio companies experienced exceptional growth in 2021. Importantly, GreenLight Biosciences, a company developing innovative RNA solutions for both the agriculture and human sectors, went public in early 2022.
COMBINED REVENUE OF BAIRD CAPITAL PORTFOLIO COMPANIES
Baird’s commitment to integrity and outstanding performance begins at the top. The continuity of our leadership team is a key strength in building our expertise and enhancing client relationships.
The Baird Way is the responsibility that comes from understanding our business is about improving lives and futures for our clients, for each other and in the communities we share.