We wish everyone a happy New Year.
October 1st marked the first day of our 35th year at Bernardi Securities.
In the fall of 1984 my father, Ed Bernardi, and several others opened the doors of Bernardi Securities for the first time. Our office was located across the street from City Hall at 134 North LaSalle where Mayor Harold Washington presided. My mother served as our telephone receptionist for the first few weeks, while my newlywed wife offered whatever support was required. We began our adventure with great expectations, irrepressible enthusiasm, and seemingly boundless energy. We worked literally elbow to elbow in a one room office that was no more than 1000 square feet. We sourced bonds from numerous places including the daily “The Blue List” publication, the J.J. Kenney wire, and a handful of bond firms and muni departments that prevailed at the time. Our initial capital base was $275,000.00. We relied on it and the good graces of our banking partners at American National Bank and Trust Company to fund the firm’s inventory.
Our investor clients were numerous, loyal, and faithfully supportive from the outset. We were fortunate to have that advantage. And, thankfully, this dynamic continues to this day. For this we are forever grateful and no written or spoken words can begin to convey the gratitude we have in our hearts.
For more than three decades, dozens of honest, diligent, smart and hardworking employees helped the organization flourish. A few remain from the earliest days continuing to meaningfully contribute to our present efforts. Our group was most often eclectic and diverse in nature. But a collective belief and commitment to our vision superseded the differences, allowing us to deliver to our clients what they sought and needed.
Chairman Ed Bernardi is our founder, leader, and mentor. The idea of forming Bernardi Securities belongs to him. He led and taught us for years. He urged us to remember our principles, believe in ourselves, work hard and treat people fairly. He taught us to self-trust as well as the lessons about running a business. He taught us the innumerable lessons we needed to learn in order to help our clients prosper. The sum of his teachings brought our organization to the place we find ourselves today.
We have been extremely fortunate over the last thirty-four years and have survived numerous setbacks and threats along the way: the Savings and Loan crisis of 1980’s, Black Monday Stock Market Crash (1987), Junk Bond market crash (1989), Bond Market crash (1994), Asian Contagion (1997-98), Dotcom bubble burst (1999-2000), Global financial crisis (2007-08) and more recently the bankruptcies of Detroit and Puerto Rico.
For many of our colleagues and their firms, these events proved to be existential ones and some firms were unable to successfully navigate the situation at hand. The financial service industry landscape today is unrecognizable when compared to when we started, and the make-up of market participants has changed greatly.
We are equally humbled and proud by our present-day reality and we thank our investor and issuer clients, our strategic partners and many, many friends for helping us along the way. We know our success is not possible without your continued confidence in our team.
We realize you count on us and we strive mightily not to disappoint as we look excitedly at the year ahead.
I wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019. Thank you.
President & CEO
Bernardi Securities, Inc.
January 3, 2019