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Siebert, Muriel

SIEBERT, MURIEL

SIEBERT, MURIEL (1932– ), U.S. stockbroker. Siebert, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, was the best-known woman on Wall Street in the second half of the 20th century. In 1967, she became the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and several years later she became the first woman to own and operate her own brokerage firm. In between she served five years, beginning in 1977, as New York State's first female superintendent of banking. A dropout from Case Western Reserve University, she lied about having a college degree to get her first job, as a $65-a-week researcher at Bache & Company, in 1954. By 1967 she was a partner in a tiny brokerage firm and an authority on aeronautics stocks; she earned $250,000 a year but felt she could do better. Because no major firm would hire her, she said, she bought a seat on the exchange for $445,000, joining 1,365 male members of the exchange. She transformed her firm into a discount brokerage house in 1975, on the first day that firms were permitted to negotiate commissions. She continued running the brokerage well into her 70s. She set up several charitable foundations, beginning in 1990 with the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Program, which distributes half of the firm's net commission revenue on new issue corporate underwritings to a charity, usually chosen by the issuer or purchaser. In 1999, while president of the New York Women's Agenda, a coalition of more than 100 women's organizations, she developed a Personal Finance Program to improve the financial skills of young people. The program was initially designed to teach how to manage a checkbook and to understand the use and abuse of credit cards. The program was part of the economics curriculum of New York City high schools and was expanded to include such topics as the basics of money, banking, credit, budgeting, taxes, insurance, and investing. Siebert was also involved with many nonprofit, civic, and women's organizations, including the Economic Club of New York, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the New York Women's Forum, of which she was a founder and former president.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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