Who needs Wall Street when you've got the Dakotas?
Kinnard Investments is the holding company for John G. Kinnard, a Minneapolis-based financial services firm that focuses on the Upper Midwest region. The company provides a panoply of financial management services for both companies and individual investors. For companies, for example John G. Kinnard will underwrite public offerings, or arrange private placements of equity, or make markets (trade) in bond securities. Its equity research department focuses on regional growth stocks. For individuals, the firm offers cash management, mutual funds, IRAs, and private client brokerage services.
The firm identifies its core businesses as split into three main divisions: retail investment services, fixed income, and equity capital markets. Kinnard has grown its equity capital markets business recently, adding 22 professionals in that division in the 12 months preceding October 1998. However, as it has grown, the firm hasn't performed well on the bottom line. In 1998, the firm posted a loss of $3.4 million, after barely making a profit in 1997.
For recent college grads interested in the financial world at John G. Kinnard, the firm offers a two-year investment executive trainee program. For other positions, job seekers can check out job descriptions at the firm's new (June 1998) web site, located at www.jgkinnard.com. Insiders report that for critical positions, candidates are "sent on a round-robin of interviews."
Good learning opportunity
Kinnard is a "good place" to "learn about the business" of finance, says one employee. Reports another: "It's a good place to get your foot in the door. They hire inexperienced people cheaply and allow you to learn as much as you want." Other insiders agree that the company has ample "opportunities" to "advance in whatever direction you desire."
"How hard you work," comments one worker, "determines how well you do." The "downside" to this "earn your merits" system is that "entry-level positions don't pay very much." For those who succeed, however, rewards can be ample. One insider reports that top brokers can receive "trips to exotic locations for sales meetings."
Not the most cosmopolitan of employers
The company has a "narrow focus" on markets in the Upper Midwest, and "nepotism runs rampant." Regarding the company's representation of minorities, one employee describes the firm as "pretty white," although, admittedly, the company's racial composition "reflects Minnesota" and may well have nothing to do with its corporate culture and hiring practices. Personnel at the company maintain that they are commited to the hiring of minorities and have recently made efforts to this effect. One contact, a woman notes that "I fell we are treated very equally."
Relaxed for an investment firm
Insiders at Kinnard enjoy the firm's casual (for a financial services firm) atmosphere. "We have a business casual dress code. On Fridays, we let our hair down - it's blue jean casual." Another contact reports that "dress code is business casual unless you are meeting with clients. This means khakis, dress shirt, and no tie." However, dress depends on the division. For example, "corporate finance, research, and institutional sales have many visiting clients, and typically have very few business casual days." And just because some departments can dress down doesn't mean they don't work hard. Reports one insider: "Brokers, bankers and analysts tend to have 12-hour days and six-day workweeks."
John G. Kinnard & Company
920 Second Ave. S.1
Corporate finance;Equity research;Fixed income investment banking;Personal investing (private client services)
A.G. Edwards & Sons;American Century Investments;Dain Rauscher;U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
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