Muriel Siebert

“I put my head down and charge.” ~Muriel Siebert

Muriel Siebert

Muriel Siebert
Image: Makers

Wall Street was not welcoming to women in the 1950’s, but that did not stop Muriel Siebert from blazing a trail for them.  In college she attended a financial class at the men’s school near hers, where she was the only woman.  That class seemed to set a precedent for Siebert’s career.  After lying about finishing her college degree, she landed a job as an analyst for Bache and Company, and there became a leader in aviation finance.  Between 1954 and 1965, she went from earning sixty-five dollars a week to 250,000 dollars and was made partner at another brokerage.

Siebert is famous for getting by on the same harsh attitude that Wall Street Brokers were known for.  She tells Markers, “I had two languages.  If I was dealing with a trader, every other word had to be a four-letter word.  So I learned that language, and still use it.”

Growing up, she always loved math, and said that numbers tell her a story.  She remembers visiting the stock exchange as a visitor to New York and thinking the job looked exciting.  Determined to work in finance, she exaggerated her qualifications to earn and analyst position.  She worked her way to partner level at several firms until she realized she was only earning about 60% of what men received at the same level.  A friend told her no firm would offer her equal pay.  That was when Siebert decided to buy her own seat on the stock exchange and work for herself.  She opened her own brokerage, Muriel Siebert & Co after purchasing her seat in 1967.  She faced more opposition than any other member, and paid one of the highest prices to get in.

Siebert was an active advocate for women in business.  She served as president for the New York Women’s Agenda, developed a program called “Financial Literacy for Women” that is still running, and shared half of her firm’s profits with her foundation.  The money went to charities of the security issuer’s choice.  She authored a memoir in 2007 called Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick.

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