We started Keene Advisors to combine two passions: advising clients on their most important strategic and corporate finance initiatives, and being catalysts for positive, lasting change in the world.
We set out to build a company committed to the success of our clients. And we sought to make a difference in the world by investing a meaningful portion of our profits in charitable organizations in our local communities and around the globe.
We saw three big trends that created the perfect storm of opportunity for a small investment banking firm with a big heart to transform the industry.
- Investment banking was undergoing significant change. Three of the largest and most successful investment banks collapsed during the Great Recession. There was a mass exodus of senior bankers from established firms and a wave of new boutique firms were formed, increasing the number of firms advising on announced mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. to over 600. Haunted by reputational damage from the Great Recession, systemic work-life imbalance, and a wealth of opportunities in other areas of finance, technology and consulting, investment banks were having a hard time attracting and retaining young talent. Despite increased competition among the investment banks and boutique firms for clients and smart, young talent, there was very little innovation in the industry. The quality and cost of services offered to clients, and the experience for employees was largely unchanged.
- Advances in technology were disrupting service industries - from travel services, to real estate agencies, taxi companies, and more. Technology had enabled new market entrants and early adopters to provide new and better services to clients at a lower cost. Established competitors in the investment banking advisory business and new competitors focused on competing along conventional battle lines had not figured out how to embrace technology in a meaningful way. Embracing technology would require these firms to completely re-imagine their existing business models and processes.
- Seventy-five percent of millennials want business to actively do more to help improve society. And in 2015, the millennial population overtook baby boomers in the U.S. By 2025, millennials will represent three-quarters of the global workforce and a significant portion of consumer demand. Studies have shown that employees working for purpose-driven companies are three times more likely to be engaged in their work. Companies with engaged employees are more productive and grow faster than companies without engaged employees. And they have better performance-related business outcomes than companies without engaged employees or engaged customers. So if companies want to have engaged employees and customers, hire smart young talent, and connect with customers of the future, they need to do something to help improve society.
Significant changes in the investment banking industry, advances in technology, and changing attitudes in the U.S. created a huge opportunity for a new kind of investment bank – one willing to challenge the status quo, re-imagine the way services are delivered to clients, and focused on doing good in the world.
From this vision Keene Advisors was born.
We realized that to succeed in a highly competitive industry, we needed to offer our clients something unique. So we leveraged our deep experience in investment banking to develop a technology platform and smart processes that enable us to provide high quality advice, seamless execution, and to tell our clients stories in creative ways. We believe that our strong values allow us to attract and retain purpose-driven employees who are more passionate, engaged and deliver better service to our clients.
We joined a movement.
We joined the Benefit Corporation movement and discovered an incredible network of like-minded businesses and business leaders focused on using business as a force for good. We incorporated as a benefit corporation in the state of Massachusetts in 2015. We became a Certified B Corporation in 2016. We were recognized as Best for the World in 2017.