Siebert, Muriel 1932(?)-
SIEBERT, Muriel 1932(?)-
Stockbroker. Bache & Co., New York, NY, security analyst, 1954-57; Utilities and Industries Management Corp., New York, analyst, 1958; Shields & Co., New York, analyst, 1959-60; Stearns & Co., New York, partner, 1961; Finkle & Co., New York, partner, 1962-65; Brimberg & Co., New York, partner, 1965-67; Muriel Siebert & Co., New York, founder, chairman, president, 1969-77; State of New York, superintendent of banking, 1977-82; Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, 1982 primary; Muriel Siebert & Co., chairman, president, 1983—. Established Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Program, 1990. Has served on numerous boards and committees, including those of the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York State Business Council; National Council of World Affairs, Long Island chapter; (and founder) Women in the Senate and House (WISH); New York City's Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise; Guild Hall Museum; New York University Business School; Alliance of American and Russian Women. Trustee of Manhattan College, the Citizens Budget Committee, and Long Island University; former director of the United Way of New York City; member of the Twentieth Century Fund's Task Force on Market Speculation and Corporate Governance.
Committee of 200, Women's Forum, (New York area; founding member and president), Financial Women's Association, Women's Economic Round Table Advisory Council, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association of Securities Professionals (board member), National Association of State Treasurers, Fashion Group International, Capital Hill Club, YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, and various social and country clubs.
Honorary degrees from Harvard Business School, New York University Graduate School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, St. John's University, St. Bonaventure University, Molloy College, Adelphi University, St. Francis College, Mercy College, College of New Rochelle, St. Lawrence University, Manhattan College, Seton Hall College, Case Western Reserve University, Marymount Manhattan College, and Hofstra University; Spirit of Achievement Award, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1977; Women's Equity Action League Award, 1978; Outstanding Contributions to Equal Opportunity for Women Award, Business Council, UN Decade for Women, 1979; Silver Beaver Award, Boy Scouts of America, 1981; Elizabeth Cutter Morrow Award, YWCA, 1983; Emily Roebling Award, National Women's Hall of Fame, 1984; Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, White House Conference on Small Business Award, 1986; Equal Opportunity Award, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1981; Brotherhood Award, NCCJ, 1989; Women on the Move Award, Antidefamation League, 1990; We're Making it Shine Award, Borough of Manhattan, 1990; Business Philanthropist of the Year Award, Southern California Conference for Women Business Owners, 1990, 1994; Benjamin Botwinick Prize, Columbia Business School, 1992; first Woman Stovall fellow, Stern School of Business, New York University, 1992; Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award, National Association of Women Business Owners, 1992; Women in Business Making History Award, Women's Business council, New York, 1993; Distinguished Woman of the Year Award, Greater New York Boy Scouts of America, 1993; Annual Achievement Award, New York Urban Coalition, 1993; Star Award, New York Women's Agenda, 1993; Lifetime Achievement Award, New York City, 1993; Corning Excellence Award, New York City Business Council, 1993; Woman of the Year Award, Financial Women's Association of New York, 1994; Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award, 1994; Star Award, New York Women's Agenda, 1994; achievement award, New York Urban Coalition, 1994; Woman of Distinction Award, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, 1994; Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, National Foundation for Teaching Leadership, 1994; inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, International Women's Hall of Fame, and Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, all 1994; Athena Award, 1997; USO Woman of the Year Award, 1998; Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, 1998; Mattel/Barbie Ambassador of Dreams Award, 1999.
(With Susan Kleinman) The Big Apple Business and Pleasure Guide: 501 Ways to Work Smarter, Play Harder, and Live Better in New York City, Master-Media (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Aimee Lee Ball) Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick (memoir), Free Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Muriel Siebert, known to her friends as "Mickie," is the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and the only woman to head a publicly traded national brokerage firm. Hers was one of the first financial firms to become a discount brokerage and to go online. Siebert has shared her success with many, donating her time and money to educational, charitable, and women's programs. Her memoir, Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick, is filled with anecdotes about her climb and accomplishments and includes such chapters as "You Make Money by Taking a Stand and Being Right," "Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way," and "Giving Back Is More than an Obligation, It's a Privilege." A Publishers Weekly contributor said that Siebert's "gritty determination shines throughout." Booklist's Mary Whaley called Siebert "a true role model, not only for young women but for all who seek success in the world of finance."
Siebert was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied accounting for three years at Western Reserve University. When her father was diagnosed with cancer, she left school to reduce the strain on the family's finances. In 1954, with her small savings, she drove to New York and began knocking on doors, but her lack of a degree was an issue. She was hired by Bache & Company as an entry-level analyst when she wrote on her application that she had a degree. Siebert intended to make up the courses she needed, but she never did. Instead, she moved from firm to firm, getting interviews by replacing her first name with her first initial. She was unable to access the all-male investment clubs where deals were made, but still, she became a partner, first at Finkle & Company, then at Brimberg & Company.
Siebert watched as the men she worked with earned considerably more than she and knew that she would have to take a huge risk in order to affirm her rights as an equal. After many rejections, she found a member of the New York Stock Exchange who was willing to back her, and Chase Manhattan Bank advanced her seventy percent of nearly half a million dollars, the price of the seat on the Exchange. The process was complicated by the fact that banks did not want to lend her the money until she had a sponsor, and no one wanted to sponsor her unless she had the money. She took her place on December 29, 1967, at the age of thirty-five, and two years later, she founded her own brokerage. Because of the relationships she had forged in years on Wall Street, she put together a number of significant deals, and her list of satisfied customers grew longer.
Siebert continued to face gender discrimination, and the men on the floor worried that they would have to clean up their language in her presence. Siebert was unshockable, however, and she quickly proved that she was willing to break the rules to advance her company. She told Beverly Kempton during an interview for Executive Female that "certain places like the floor of the Stock Exchange are known to be animal farms, meaning they're tough places to work. Nothing is going to change that. When people work under a lot of pressure, the language can get rough. I learned all my foul language at the trading tables. It doesn't mean a thing to me; they're just words."
When Congress deregulated commissions for financial transactions in 1975, Siebert cut her fees for individual investors. Other brokerage houses preferred that discounts should only be offered to institutional investors. Siebert began to advertise her rates and services, also a first in the industry.
In 1977, Democratic governor of New York Hugh Carey offered Republican Siebert the position of superintendent of banking. She took the job at a time of failing thrifts, an increasing number of foreign banks, and the impending failure of the Municipal Credit Union. Over the five years Siebert worked on behalf of New York's banking system, she made the necessary changes and lobbied for new legislation that ensured that no bank would fail. Her reputation was enhanced by her abilities as a problem-solver, and she made a run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1982. She lost the primary, however, and returned to her firm, which she found had suffered greatly in her absence.
Siebert had lost customers due to poor management, and three of her employees had left with customer lists with which they started another discount company. Siebert rejected a lucrative job offer and two buyout offers and returned her brokerage to its former prominence. She entered into mergers and acquired partners that broadened the scope of Muriel Siebert & Company.
In 1990, Siebert established the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan (SEPP), through which she contributes to charity fifty percent of the net commissions her firm receives on the sale of new-issue, equity, municipal, and government bonds, providing millions of dollars to a variety of organizations.
In the interview with Kempton, Siebert said, "Recently a student at Harvard Business School commented that women of my generation seem disappointed in women of her generation. That's true. More women must be active in the political process, or we will all lose some of the things we have fought for.…If you are going to sit there and wait for other people to do things for you, you will soon be eighty years old and look back and say: Hey, what did I do?"
In the book, Siebert writes of her career, "I don't know if I've ever broken into the Old Boy Network, but I've survived without it, and a lot of people who didn't accept me at first learned to respect me." Money's Marion Asnes wrote that "Siebert is the real deal, and this book is a great way to get to know her."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Newsmakers (later issues published as Newsmakers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, Volume 18, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Herera, Sue, Women of the Street: Making It on Wall Street—The World's Toughest Business, Wiley, 1997.
Siebert, Muriel, and Aimee Lee Ball, Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick, Free Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Booklist, November 1, 2002, Mary Whaley, review of Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick, p. 463.
Executive Female, January-February, 1993, Beverly Kempton, review of "What Does Success Really Mean?," p. 38.
Institutional Investor, December, 2002, Hal Lux and others, review of Changing the Rules, p. 12.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Changing the Rules, p. 1290.
Money, January 1, 2001, Adrienne Carter, "Mickie Wants to be Queen of the Web: A Wall Street Pioneer Aims to Prove that Women's Finance Sites Have a Future," p. 109; November 1, 2002, Marion Asnes, review of Changing the Rules, p. 32.
New York Times, October 22, 2000, Julie Flaherty, "Finding a Woman's Place on the Web and in the Market," p. BU2.
Publishers Weekly, December 9, 2002, review of Changing the Rules, p. 77.
Enterprising Women,http://www.enterprisingwomen.com/ (January 7, 2003), "Meet the First Woman of Finance: Muriel Siebert."
Muriel Siebert & Co., Inc.,http://www.siebertnet.com/ (April 21, 2003).*