The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual gauge of the international population’s trust in business organizations, governments, and the media.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual gauge of the international population’s trust in business organizations, governments, and the media. It is prominent among a number of similar annual research studies published by public relations agencies.
From 2008 to 2009, according to the barometer, trust in business dropped to its lowest level from 58% down to 38%. Enron, Bernie Madoff, and the Lehman Brothers collapse all contributed to this well-warranted distrust of business and financial services. Ever since then, the Edelman Trust Barometer for financial services has been slowly rising back towards normal trust levels. However, recent events like the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange will undoubtedly damage the perception of trust in financial services once again.
Around the time of this precipitous drop in trust, as the Great Recession was just starting and just a few weeks after the Bear Stearns collapse, Jorge Madrigal decided to open the doors to what would eventually become one of the most successful Latino-owned financial services firms in the U.S. One year prior, Madrigal was finishing a fourteen-year successful career at Barclays Global Investors, which was later acquired by BlackRock. Penserra was his first entrepreneurial venture, and his timing could not have been worse.
Today, Penserra, is a leading U.S. provider of global equity trading and fixed income trading services for some of the largest and most sophisticated investment management firms in the world. Penserra also provides underwriting syndicate services for the U.S. debt and equity capital markets. The company participated in its first corporate debt underwriting transaction in 2016 and, later, the Lyft equity IPO was Penserra’s first opportunity to be a co-manager in an equity underwriting syndicate.
The company also happens to manage 45 Exchange Traded Funds as a sub-advisor with assets under management of over $6 billion. Most of the ETFs are thematic equity strategies and two funds are derivatives-based volatility strategies. More recently, Penserra launched a fundamental active investment management business with an International Sustainable Small Cap Fund. Not bad for a company born in the rubble of the Great Recession.
How is Penserra changing the image of financial services for the better? That’s where things become interesting and what could help the trust barometer improve for financial services if more firms behave this way.
Since opening its doors in 2008, Madrigal has been the Chief Executive Officer at Penserra, and he has been relentlessly committed to building a corporate culture that his clients and employees can be proud of. With help from his colleagues and some guidance from the Stanford University - Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, Madrigal laid down the foundation of his corporate culture in The Penserra Mindset. It is no surprise that with its strong corporate culture, Penserra has been recognized several times as a “Best Places to Work in Money Management” by Pensions & Investments.
Madrigal also expects his colleagues to make a meaningful difference in their local communities and he really means it. Madrigal not only runs his company and cares for his family with two children, but he still pushes himself to help his community through volunteerism. He volunteers his time to three non-profit organizations, most notably Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area as both a wish-granter (along with his wife) and is their Treasurer. He is also a frequent mentor to college students and a frequent speaker at Latino finance events.
Madrigal also feels strongly that children and young adults from economically underprivileged communities can improve their socio-economic status by focusing on education. As such, Madrigal started granting scholarships to seniors graduating from high school who are from first- and second-generation immigrant families. When he started seeing the significant impact he was making, Madrigal pulled together his Penserra partners and employees to create a charitable foundation in 2021.
The Penserra Foundation serves as an extension of the company’s core values, striving to empower young children and adults that need help the most. Its main purpose is to collaborate with various communities and organizations to promote the well-being of children by improving access to education, promoting diversity and inclusion, caring for the sick and homeless, and by helping to further the careers of the young professionals, especially Latinos.
Penserra employees not only volunteer their time, but they champion the foundation to provide financial support. The more employees that volunteer or champion an initiative, the greater the financial support provided by the foundation.
A company spokesperson, Annette Finanne, said, “Penserra is proud to be a certified Minority-owned business enterprise with strong Latino roots. As such, the company strives to embody diversity and inclusion, embrace strong cultural values, and conduct ourselves with integrity. We also work super hard for our customers. It is that simple.”
This way of doing business is not only helping their institutional customers solve problems, but the company is also improving the quality of life in local communities.
Even making a small difference for the better can help rebuild trust in financial services firms one step at a time. If more financial services firms conduct themselves like Penserra, we should expect to see even further increases to the Edelman Trust Barometer in the years to come.
More information about Penserra is available on the company website.
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