John Taft Profile Photo

John Taft

Keynote Speaker

Vice Chairman, Baird; Former CEO of RBC Wealth Management

For almost 40 years, people have trusted John Taft's perspective on the financial services industry.

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John Taft Profile Photo

Currently Vice Chairman at Baird, a global financial services firm, John Taft’s diverse experience includes more than a decade as CEO of RBC Wealth Management, and as a Board member and Past Chairman of the Securities and Financial Markets Association. In these roles and through his speaking, writing and media appearances, Taft has been an advocate for authentic stewardship, for “responsible finance,” and for the essential role finance plays in achieving societal goals.

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John Taft Profile Photo
John Taft

A Force for Good

John Taft’s Speech Topics

  • Finance for the Greater Good

    To whom and for what is finance responsible? In a world where “financial institutions and financial variables are as much a source of direction and an ordering principle in our lives as the rising and setting sun, the seasons, and the tides,” alignment between the day-to-day activities of financial markets, institutions and systems and the goals set by society is the key to maximizing our collective well being, fulfillment and quality of life. That is John Taft’s expansive vision for Enlightened Finance — financial institutions that are not about making money, per say, but that remain true to their mission and purpose as agents and intermediaries, allocating capital efficiently, and optimizing economic growth.

  • Warriors for Opportunity

    Financial capitalism – free markets powered by a robust financial system – is the dominant economic model in the world today. Yet many who have benefited from the system argue it’s not working the way it ought to, that it is failing to serve a broad-enough segment of society’s needs. Are we witnessing the late stage twilight years of capitalism? Is it time to abandon the most successful economic system the world has ever seen? That would be a huge mistake. Yet to save it, we must become “Warriors for Opportunity” and do more to turn capitalism into an engine of opportunity, the core element of the American Dream.

  • Stewardship

    In his first book, Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street, John Taft described what happens when we lose touch with the core principle of Stewardship. Stewardship defined as “responsibly managing what others have entrusted to our care.” Today, Stewardship failure on a far broader basis is contributing to other societal challenges, like: 

    • Climate-driven environmental changes;
    • Growing levels of public sector indebtedness;
    • Income inequality;
    • Racial unrest; and
    • Political upheaval of a kind unseen in our lifetimes.

    But these crises can be mitigated, and possibly averted, if we collectively to act like responsible stewards and demonstrate more consistently stewardship behaviors Purposefulness, Humility, Accountability, Foresight, Integrity.


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