Muriel F. “Mickie” Siebert, best known as the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and the first to head one of its member firms, died Saturday in Manhattan. She was 84.
Siebert, the founder, chairwoman and CEO of Siebert Financial Corp., died of complications from cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the company said Monday.
“This is obviously a great loss not only for our company, but for the financial industry in general,” said Joseph Ramos, the company’s chief operating officer. “Mickie was a pioneer and recognized as a leader throughout the industry and beyond.”
The part-time Palm Beacher told The Palm Beach Post in a 2010 interview that she started on Wall Street as a $65-a-week researcher at Bache & Co. Several jobs and more than a dozen years later, she established the brokerage firm that bears her name, Muriel Siebert & Co. The company went public in 1996 as Siebert Financial Corp.
In addition to New York City, the company has offices in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Beverly Hills and Jersey City, N.J.
She became known as the “first woman of finance,” but had a tough climb to the top.
“I had to switch jobs a few times. They were paying men twice as much,” Siebert said in the interview. Once, when she received no responses to her résumé, the Society of Security Analysts sent it for her, identifying her by her initials. M.F. Siebert was hired for $9,500 a year.
Siebert, who never married and has no children, said, “It is very hard, unless you have somebody that is in the arts, or in a totally different field. When you make more money than (men) do, they get very uptight.”
Even purchasing her NYSE seat was difficult, because she was a woman.
After she applied, the exchange imposed a new requirement. She had to have a letter from a bank saying it would lend her $300,000 of the near-record $445,000 seat price. But the banks would not commit to a loan until the exchange agreed to admit her. After almost a year of being turned down, a phone call from a Chase Manhattan Bank employee with whom she did business to David Rockefeller, its president, made it happen in 1967. In 1975 her brokerage became a discount house on the first day that NYSE members were permitted to negotiate commissions.
Jane Macon, a director of Siebert Financial and an attorney, said Siebert was “a fabulous woman, a trailblazer and a pioneer,” who set a high standards for those who entered the financial world after her.
“She always pushed the doors open and kept them open for other people to follow,” Macon said.
Through her foundation, Siebert developed a financial literacy program to teach basic financial skills to middle and high school students and adults.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.