A Message From Steve Booth

In my career, I have seen the broader financial services industry shaped by strategic and competitive change as well as economic and market-related opportunities and challenges. Markets and economies around the world have become more complex and interconnected. Client needs are more specialized as well as much more varied.

Once again, this past year presented no shortage of opportunities and challenges – and as always, Baird’s exceptional people helped our clients and our firm navigate through with understanding, expertise and a personal commitment as strong as our roots.

In 2023, Baird maintained its focus on our long-term strategic priorities. We continued to make significant investments in the remarkable people and advanced technology needed to help formulate and efficiently deliver our expertise to clients around the world. Importantly, those investments were highly intentional and strategic – not in response to unforeseen developments. They reflected a long-term vision and consistent focus on what is in the best interests of serving our clients and being the best place to work for our associates.

Steve Booth

“Our unwavering focus on clients continues to guide every decision we make and the financial advice we provide.”
– Steve Booth, Chairman & CEO

That forward-looking perspective is possible because of Baird’s privately held structure. Freedom from potentially conflicting objectives or short-term expectations of outside shareholders enables us to always put our clients’ interests first and think longer term. These are core cultural beliefs and timeless values that have sustained our success since 1919.

Our unwavering focus on clients – from families, individuals and communities across the United States to corporations and institutions around the world – guides every decision we make and the financial advice we provide. Our commitment to being a great workplace helps us attract and retain exceptional talent and ensures the quality and continuity of our advice and service. And our balance of recurring fee-based revenue combined with a mix of cyclical and countercyclical transactional revenue provides diversification and further financial stability. This allows us to consistently re-invest in remarkable people to serve our clients as well as other strategic capabilities – even in market environments like 2023, when other financial firms were forced to scale back in challenged areas.

Business Highlights

Our balanced business platform provided financial strength and stability for the firm, ensuring our ability to focus on clients’ specialized needs.

Baird finished 2023 with $2.91 billion in revenue and an operating income of $508.6 million.1 Results across our five business units were varied, consistent with market conditions in each of our served markets. But overall, our 2023 revenue and operating profit were the second-best in Baird’s history. Improving market conditions heading into year-end helped propel firmwide assets under management to a new all-time high of more than $430 billion, a nearly 15% increase from 2022.

Private Wealth Management (PWM) had a very good year. The return of higher short-term interest rates allowed revenue streams from our client Cash Sweep Program to return to more normalized levels of profitability after being significantly impacted by several years of near zero short-term interest rates. Improving valuation levels in the equity and fixed income markets and the continued growth of Baird Trust, our wholly owned trust company, also contributed to PWM’s performance. Recurring revenue now represents more than 90% of total PWM revenues and is driven largely by the value of assets in client accounts. PWM client assets under management increased 13.5% to a record $291.5 billion.

After navigating challenging market conditions throughout 2022, Asset Management saw significant growth in assets under management throughout 2023. This was driven by consistent net inflows across virtually all our fixed income and equity product categories as well as gains in investment values as public equity and fixed income valuations rebounded throughout the year. As a result, revenues increased sequentially each quarter and ended up slightly from 2022. Assets under management increased 18% to a record $142 billion at year end.

Our Equity Capital Markets platform was impacted by significant declines in M&A and equity financing market activity. Over the prior two years of stronger cyclical M&A and equity financing market growth, we intentionally moderated our own rate of expansion, maintaining a steady and thoughtful trend-line increase in headcount during 2021 and 2022. As our markets became cyclically challenged in the first half of 2023, many of our competitors had one or more rounds of layoffs. Because we had far less excess capacity, Baird’s overall financial strength allowed us to keep our team in place and take advantage of a unique point-in-time opportunity to hire exceptional, seasoned people in targeted strategic areas. When our markets inevitably begin their cyclical rebound, we will be very well-positioned with the expertise and experienced capacity to help our clients achieve their transactional objectives.

Fixed Income Capital Markets saw increased demand for Public Finance advisory services in several of our key market geographies, which helped offset significantly reduced sales and trading volume as institutional depository clients cut back dramatically on longer-duration fixed income portfolio trading activity.

Within Principal Investments, Baird Capital and Baird Principal Group achieved positive net gains across our private equity and strategic investment portfolio, despite a challenging operating and valuation environment.

Baird managed or oversaw more than $430 billion
in client assets at the end of 2023, an increase of
more than 268% over the past decade.


Our stock value has increased more than 300% over the past 10 years.2

1Financial results do not reflect the consolidation of certain private equity partnerships.

2Baird stock performance is based on the change in book value per share for Baird Financial Group common stock from December 31, 2013 of $10.59 to December 31, 2023 of $27.40 and includes payment of cash dividends per share of $15.95 from 2014 through 2023. Baird is privately held and no public market exists for its shares. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Other Highlights

Private ownership remained a key advantage in 2023, enabling us to think, plan and invest for the long term, creating opportunities we were uniquely positioned to act on.

At Baird, we believe our people are our greatest asset. It is our extraordinary people who bring “The Baird Difference” to life each and every day. Our recognition for the 20th consecutive year among the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® positioned us to take advantage of what became a very attractive recruiting environment in 2023, enabling us to strategically add talented people across key areas of the firm.

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for 2023 Logo

Being privately held and employee-owned allows us to focus on maintaining and continually strengthening our unique culture and strong shared values, which we refer to as “The Baird Way.” Moreover, our reputation as a truly great place to work allows us to be highly selective, prioritizing cultural compatibility as well as excellence in who we hire. Because this focus has been in place for decades, literally all our associates – from the financial professionals who advise our clients to the talented specialists who support our advice and help service our external and internal relationships – share our core values. And because we are employee-owned, now with nearly 80% of our associates being Baird shareholders, we have a uniquely strong personal commitment to our clients, our communities and each other.

We successfully implemented several strategic technology investments in 2023, including new tools and functionality to enhance our Private Wealth Management clients’ digital experiences and augment portfolio analytics for our Asset Management business to support their decision-making and reporting requirements. We also invested in new cloud-based technology to bring real-time information and data to our Global Investment Banking team so they can more efficiently serve their global client and transaction needs.

Baird’s commitment to the communities we share with our clients, always a priority, was once again a source of pride for the firm in 2023. It was a record-setting year for our annual firmwide United Way campaign, achieving more than 90% associate giving participation in our substantial Milwaukee area and Chicago offices. Now in its third year, the Paul Purcell “Kids Win!” Annual Baird Education Grant program awarded nearly $1 million to 11 schools and education-focused organizations across the United States. All-in Baird Foundation gifts and associate gift matches across our communities totaled $5.7 million for the year.

Baird also made a substantial, long-term community investment in Milwaukee, where our firm was founded and has been headquartered for over one hundred years. Our 15-year naming rights agreement with the recently expanded and renovated Baird Center, Wisconsin’s largest and now world-class convention and event center, represents a strategic and foundational investment in the future of Milwaukee as a growing business and cultural destination.

Baird logo atop U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee


Since our founding in 1919, Baird’s headquarters has been in Milwaukee. In July of 2023, we recommitted to the city with an extension of our U.S. Bank Center lease through 2033. Today Baird is the building’s largest tenant, occupying 21 of its 42 floors.

A Global Milestone

2024 marks the 25th anniversary of Baird’s first major step onto the international stage through our merger with Granville in 1999.

Our merger with London-based merchant bank Granville, plc. in 1999 brought international reach to Baird’s investment banking and private equity businesses at a time when our M&A and private equity clients were seeking greater access to European markets in the wake of the European Union’s formation earlier in the decade. We knew Granville well, having worked across one another in several transatlantic M&A situations, and our client-centric cultures, areas of industry specialization and M&A and private equity focus were all highly complementary. Twenty-five years later, London is a vital hub for our investment banking, capital markets and private equity operations.

We have continued to grow our global expertise and capabilities in the intervening years. Soon after the Granville merger, we began building out our institutional sales and trading team in London. We also partnered with several German investment banks in a joint venture that would integrate fully into our European investment banking operations in 2005, making Frankfurt Baird’s second-largest non-U.S.-based office. In 2003, Baird Capital established operational resources in China and later added direct investing capabilities in greater Asia. During this time, our Global Investment Banking team also added capabilities in China and Japan and formed strategic alliances with M&A firms in key markets – first Australia and India, then Brazil and Spain. Our acquisition of Chautauqua Capital Management in 2016 brought international and global equity strategies to our renowned Asset Management platform. More recently, our Fixed Income Capital Markets business and our wholly owned macroeconomic research firm, Strategas – a Baird Company, each established London-based European operations.

Four Baird associates conversing near a large window in the London office overlooking the London skyline

Today, Baird serves corporate and institutional clients around the world and, no matter where their financial objectives take them in the future, they can rely on our global expertise being delivered with the same personal commitment and focus on their needs.

Steve Booth signature

Steve Booth, Chairman & CEO