Muriel Siebert, founder of Siebert Financial Corp. (SIEB), passed away over the weekend. Many new investors may not know her nor may they know just how important and influential she was on Wall Street and in the financial services industries. Ms. Siebert died at the age of 80 years old, and we wanted to list some of her accomplishments that have led to at least more equality among women in what had been a men-only club before she came on the stage.
First and foremost, "Mickie" became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange by purchasing a seat back in 1967. She was also the first woman to head up an NYSE member firm. Most investors will think of Schwab as the first or most well known of the large discount brokerage firms, but Siebert made the move to a discount broker in the mid-1970s after NYSE members finally were allowed to start negotiating their commission rates.
Siebert was one of the loudest voices when it came to equality for women on Wall Street and in other fields. Siebert may not have grown into the beasts that other online and discount brokerage firms grew into, but sometimes a founder and leader is happy enough with what they have. Her firm's shares rose with the rise of the discount brokerage firms and the tech bubble in the late 1990s, but that wave came and went and Siebert's firm had not been discussed much since.
After reviewing her firm's tribute release about her, we saw something new that we were not aware of. The report said, "In 1977, she put her firm in a blind trust to serve as New York State’s first woman Superintendent of Banking for five years." A much longer report can be found at Bloomberg showing other aspects of her career.
Muriel Siebert may not be a household name to many outside of Wall Street, but her efforts in getting women more representation and equality in the world of finance will make her one of the most important business women in the past century.