As we celebrate our 35th birthday here at IR+M, it’s interesting to look back at the year of our birth, 1987. The Celtics lost to the Lakers, Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Top Gun won an Oscar for Best Music (Original Song). The Dow dropped 22.6% in a single day (Black Monday, October 19), Drexel Burnham Lambert and the high yield market began to show cracks and Wall Street premiered with Gordon Gekko proclaiming that “greed…is good.”
When folks look back at 2022 in thirty-five years, they will recall that the Celtics beat the Warriors in seven (fingers crossed here!!), Whitney Houston’s film I Wanna Dance with Somebody premiered and Top Gun: Maverick dominated the box office. They will also recall that stocks and bonds fell into disrepair simultaneously, the Fed tried desperately to curb inflation and investors grappled with a host of serious headwinds: supply chains, war, gas prices, a relentless pandemic, return to work, the great resignation, mental health, and climate deterioration, to name just a few.
And in 2057, what will we make of those 2022 challenges? Did we succumb to them, or did we catapult forward, turning our weaknesses into strengths? This is an important question that each of us must answer.
At IR+M, we are working hard to get better. We will continue to do the things we believe we do well: collaborate tirelessly, question assumptions, debate openly and candidly, emphasize team over self; buy good bonds with stories we understand; lean into risk when well compensated and lean away when spreads are paltry; communicate frequently and openly with our clients, note when things are going well and never hide when we graze the inevitable potholes.
Importantly, we will work hard to do new things well. We will bring new energy and conviction to our DEI journey. We are proud of our progress (click here for more details), but we know the journey is young. We will take care of our people, providing space and support for mental wellness, explore hybrid models thoughtfully and vulnerably until we find the win-win equilibrium that delivers for our clients and colleagues, and move into offices in a new building on the forefront of sustainability (click here for the building’s sustainability mission). We will take care of our clients, communicate in new and more efficient ways while investing in technology solutions and launch a new and improved website. We will deliver thought pieces and in-person meetings that provide our clients with the expertise they need in these extraordinarily volatile times.
In sum, we will celebrate our strengths and leverage them. A good example: our 5-year old Core Plus strategy (click here) is unique – playing the music a little louder when compensation for risk is particularly attractive – and yet is clearly borne from the philosophy and process first launched in 1987. We will not rest, rather we will develop new strengths. A good example: a commitment to sustainability and climate as detailed in our inaugural Corporate Sustainability Report that will be released later this month.
We are proud of our past, enjoying the present and excited for the future – with you, our partners. Thank you for believing in us and we will continue to work hard to earn that trust every day.