Sam Ramirez Jr., a second-generation investment executive for the people
Since he began working at his family’s investment banking business almost 30 years ago, Ramirez Jr. has become a valuable leader for generations of diverse…
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The ability to obtain and maintain finances is among the most important endeavors a person can partake in once reaching adulthood.
It was something Sam Ramirez Jr. understood at an early age.
A second generation Puerto Rican-American born and raised in New York City, Ramirez Jr. grew up in a household of entrepreneurs.
His mother was a real estate professional and later became the CEO of one of the top residential real estate companies in New York, and his father in 1971 founded Wall Street’s first Hispanic investment bank in the country — Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc.
“I grew up in the finance business,” said Ramirez during an interview with AL DÍA.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Vermont, before pursuing two MBAs at Dartmouth and Fordham University, respectively.
After starting out as an intern during the mid 1980s, Ramirez Jr. joined the family business as a full-time managing director and fixed income specialist in the early 1990s, helping build divisions to expand the firm.
“We are the oldest and largest Hispanic investment firm in the country,” said Ramirez. “We’re very proud of our history and what we’ve done as a company over the years.”
In 2002, Ramirez established Ramirez Asset Management (RAM) Inc., a business enterprise and affiliated SEC-registered RIA focused on fixed income asset management for institutional public and private pension funds, corporations and state and local governments, where he has served as President & CEO.
“What I’ve done is, I’ve tried to continue to grow the Ramirez organization,” he said. “Put my stamp on it and run it with integrity and really with a potential for growth in the future.”
Since it was founded, the firm has expanded to employ over 150 employees across its 12 offices nationwide, including its New York City headquarters, and offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Austin, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Throughout the years, Ramirez & Co. has been committed to mentoring individuals and supporting charity organizations from across the nation.
“We support a lot of great organizations and charities, and we are educating the next generation of financial professionals, people who have interest in financial services,” said Ramirez.
As a firm, Ramirez and Co. has been a place where people can come in order to seek advice, receive training and in some instances, be hired as interns or full-time employees.
This year, Ramirez created the Ramirez Investment Institute to provide basic education information and offer it to different colleges and universities across the nation.
In addition, the company has partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help provide scholarships, career networking opportunities and other tools to empower students, parents and young adults to successfully complete their higher education endeavors.
“We are here to inspire, to help the next generation of people who may want to consider a career in financial services to find the right path,” he said.
Diversity is also a big part of the firm’s infrastructure.
“Our organization is one of the premier diverse financial firms in the country,” said Ramirez.
Currently, 50% of the organization is diverse individuals, while 60% of its senior management team is diverse.
“All of our offices are run by diverse senior management, so we are really proud of the company we’re running,” he added. “We’re trying to do our part.”
When discussing capital markets, Ramirez described the U.S.’s as “the most efficient and robust in the world.”
However, according to a recent report from Morningstar, more than two-thirds of Hispanic households are not putting money aside through workplace savings vehicles or creating retirement plans.
As a long-time fixed income specialist, Ramirez understands that for many it can be difficult to invest or save money, especially early on.
“You have certain goals that you’re trying to achieve,” he said. “And what you have to do is try to maximize the potential to achieve the financial goals for yourself.”
When it comes to the Hispanic and other diverse communities, oftentimes individuals and families arrive in the U.S. in search of the American dream.
“When you come here, it’s not about getting a handout, they want to work and they want to try to fulfill an American dream,” said Ramirez, noting that is why many Hispanics are so entrepreneurial.
“It’s a common thread that runs through the Hispanic community as a whole,” he added.
With the main priority for just about anyone being to have a roof over their head and be able to feed themselves and their families, the struggle to do so can make the prospect of investing or saving for retirement seem like an impossibility.
“What’s important is to focus on your education, build a good foundation and then try to find where your passion lies,” Ramirez said as a piece of advice. “And if you make money at that, that’s a bonus.”
At Ramirez & Co., the goal is to help people make informed, wise decisions on how to save and invest their money in a way that works for them long-term.
“Working hard is really the key… you have to push yourself,” said Ramirez. “There are great opportunities in this country and you have to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity.”