“Our business is a business that is based on trust, and trust is the cornerstone of every relationship…. We need to demonstrate corporate responsibility, reach out to the investor and the populace for open dialogue and communication.”
–Michael Rice, President, Private Client Group at Prudential Securities Incorporated. Keynote speaker, Wall Street 50, 2003
As we go to press with our 6th Annual Wall Street 50 feature the market is beginning to turn. This past week all major stock indexes posted strong gains and we are beginning to see last year’s volatility replaced by more stability. Though we are by no means out of the woods, it seems a good time to celebrate, which we will on July 16th. Just about the time you receive this issue in the mail, we will gather in the Sky Club high above Grand Central Station, with its beautiful views of Manhattan, and raise a toast to the future.
It’s been a rough couple of years for those in the financial sector as firms recovered from the tragedy of September 11, and a spate of corporate scandals shook investor confidence. But the future does look brighter. The market is showing signs of stabilizing – we don’t have the huge drop-off days, and mutual funds and stocks are starting to make money, not a lot but a little. We are also seeing more pressure on regulators to keep a closer eye on accounting practices and a lot more public scrutiny on how companies do business.
Michael Rice, president of the Private Client Group at Prudential Securities Incorporated, and keynote speaker for our Wall Street 50 Awards, 2003, believes that if Wall Street becomes more candid with its investors, trust can be restored. “There can’t be any smoke and mirrors,” he emphasizes. At 36, Rice is a rising star on the Street. Taking care of investors is his business, but in an industry that is known to “take care of themselves first,” Rice has a care for his community (see interview with Louise Carroll page 58). In 2002 Rice served as chairman of Prudential’s annual Global Volunteer Day, leading 2,000 of Prudential’s staff to help clean up East River Park which was covered with dirt and debris after September 11. The Prudential Foundation donated $60 for every person who participated and Rice presented a check for $109,000 on behalf of the company to the New York City Police and Fire Widows and Children Fund.
Those we lost on September 11 are never far from our minds, particularly the firemen, policemen, and those who worked on Wall Street. As last year’s keynote speaker, Tom Quick, vice chairman of Quick &Reilly/Fleet Securities, Inc., advised: “We must celebrate the lives of the fallen and respect the memory of our ancestors by building a stronger community, a better New York, and a more vibrant financial sector than we’ve ever known.”