A History of Client Success

When William McCormick Blair and Francis Bonner opened their investment banking firm on January 8, 1935, the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were still taking their toll. Across the country, the number of investment firms had decreased from 600 in 1929 to just 200 in 1935.

Amid this uncertainty, William Blair set out to build an investment firm that could help Chicago and the Midwest rebuild from the Great Depression by providing financing for the region’s most promising growth-oriented companies.

He sought to help restore investors’ confidence in financial institutions by creating a firm that was steadfastly and singularly focused on its clients’ success. “When our clients succeed, the firm’s success will follow,” Mr. Blair would say.

His would be a conservatively financed firm that stood for honest dealings, sound corporate advice, unbiased investment recommendations, and civic responsibility. His vision demanded that the firm recommend only investments that it could vouch for based on diligent research.

These uncompromising values and standards served investors and issuers well in the 1930s, and they continue to do so today. Our founder’s vision for providing unbiased investment advice and financing solutions now extends to investors, companies, and organizations across the world. Today we are a global investment banking and asset management firm based in Chicago with offices on four continents.

Throughout our history we have remained independent and employee-owned. This independence and the stability of our strong balance sheet and diversified business model allow us to put our clients first and foremost.

By building enduring relationships with our clients, we have helped institutional and private investors achieve their objectives and financed the growth of premier companies, such as Molex, CDW, and Concord. We provide expertise and solutions to meet our clients’ evolving needs while remaining guided by our founder’s vision and values.