Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Winter 2002Kellogg School of Management
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Alumni Profile: James Reynolds '82
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  James Reynolds '82
James Reynolds '82

Alumni Profile: James Reynolds '82

He keeps going ... and going
Energy, vision and diversity reign at James Reynold Jr.’s ’82 Loop Capital Markets

James Reynolds Jr. ’82, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of five-year-old Loop Capital Markets, LLC, is an astute judge of talent — black, white, brown, and male or female.

But he’s not interested in hiring a top bond salesperson or equity trader unless the person is a team player. Michael Jordan, he points out, scored 60 points per game while the Chicago Bulls were losing.

“But when he really became a team-oriented player, they got six championships out of him,” says Reynolds, 48, recently named one of the 50 top black executives on Wall Street by Black Enterprise magazine. It also ranked his firm fifth among the nation’s African-American investment banks.

Loop Capital, with six regional offices in addition to Chicago, specializes in corporate and public finance, financial advisory services, equity research and security sales and trading. The firm since 1997 has handled about $350 billion in financings. Among its clients are the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, General Motors and General Mills.

In an industry known for its male- and white-dominated managerial culture, Reynolds has made Loop Capital a laboratory for a high-energy, professional, successful — and diverse — workplace.

“If you came here, you’d see more diversity than you’d see at any major firm,” he says. “You don’t have to compromise anything to achieve those goals.” About half of Loop Capital’s 60 employees are African-American, and half are female.

A highly successful bond salesman with major financial firms, Reynolds started Loop Capital with six employees after serving as director at Merrill Lynch & Co. in Chicago. He saw a niche opportunity in the bond market, which initially compromised 95 percent of the company’s sales. (Equities now comprise 50 percent).

A 1982 graduate of the Kellogg School, where he earned an MBA in finance, Reynolds says he learned about teams “really for the first time” while enrolled at Kellogg. Reynolds also has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse. Both degrees almost did not happen.

Late in his senior year at Chicago Vocational Trade High School, where he studied radio and television repair, his mother asked him look at her broken television. “I saw a bunch of things I had never seen in my shop class,” says Reynolds. Fortunately, he quips, the LaCrosse school had a rolling admissions policy and he initiated his university career.

His firm, which specializes in service and research, has six regional offices outside Chicago. It also sponsors 10 to 12 high school and college interns each year, and disperses about $500,000 annually to charities — one of the firm’s largest expenditures.

Peter Bynoe, an attorney and long-time friend, praised Reynolds’ professionalism and work as president of Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, which enhances opportunities for minorities.

“He energizes them, he energizes his own people,” says Bynoe. “He’s the energizer bunny.”

And he energizes, among others, the boards of Illinois Economic Development Board, Lincoln Academy of Illinois, Chicago State University, Chicago Public Education Fund, the Chicago Summer Business Institute, and is treasurer for the Chicago Urban League.

—Daniel Cattau

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University