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Muriel Siebert, president and chief executive officer of Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc.
Muriel Siebert has been called “The First Woman of Finance” because she is the first woman to win a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and the first to start and head one of its member firms – Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc. She established the firm in 1967 when she became the first woman member of the NYSE and transformed it into a discount brokerage house on May 1, 1975, the first day that NYSE members were permitted to negotiate commissions. Muriel Siebert & Co. is the only woman-owned NYSE brokerage firm with a national presence. Ms. Siebert continues to oversee the firm’s day to day operations at its seven branches. The firm’s Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. municipal affiliate is ranked in the top 20 public finance firms in the country.
Ms. Siebert started her career as a $65 a week trainee in research at Bache & Co., and became an industry specialist (airlines/aerospace). She later became a partner at Finkle & Co., as well as at Brimberg & Co. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended what is now known as Case Western Reserve University. Although she did not graduate, she now holds 15 honorary doctoral degrees.
In 1977 Ms. Siebert took a leave of absence from her firm to serve five years as the first woman Superintendent of Banking for the State of New York under Governor Hugh Carey. As such, she was responsible for the safety and soundness of not only the banks, but also other financial institutions in New York State.
Reflecting upon her commitment to philanthropy and “giving back,” Ms. Siebert started her own charitable program in 1990, the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Program (SEPP). Under SEPP, half of the firm’s net commission revenue on new issue corporate underwritings is donated to a charity, usually chosen by the issuer or purchaser.
In 1999, while president of the New York Women’s Agenda, a coalition of over 100 women’s organizations, she developed a Personal Finance Program to improve the financial literacy of our nation’s young people. The program was initially design to teach two essential financial management skills – managing a checkbook and understanding the use and abuse of credit cards. The program is currently being taught in New York City high schools as part of the economics curriculum for seniors, and has recently been expanded to include such topics as the basics of money, banking, credit, budgeting, taxes, insurance, investing, etc. It is scheduled to be city-wide in the spring of 2005. The Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of the nation’s largest urban public school systems, has forwarded the program to the school board members in each of its 64 member cities. In keeping with her personal agenda, Ms. Siebert hopes to see this program established nationally.
Throughout her career, Ms. Siebert has been actively involved with a wide range of non-profit, civic and women’s organizations. To name only a few of her affiliations, she is currently on the boards of The Economic Club of New York, The New York State Business Council, the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Guild Hall Museum. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee of 200, an international organization of pre-eminent businesswomen, the International Women’s Forum, and the New York Women’s Forum of which she was a founder and former president. Ms. Siebert serves on the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination which selects nominees for vacancies on the New York Court of Appeals and refers them to the Governor. She is a former appointee to the National Women’s Business Council and was a member of Deloitte & Touch’s Council for the Advancement and Retention of Women.