Who Is Alice Jarcho?

Alice Jarcho is known as the second woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. As a vice-president at Oppenheimer and Company, Jarcho became the first woman to serve as a full-time floor broker on the exchange.

Key Takeaways

  • Alice Jarcho served as a vice-president at Oppenheimer and Company.
  • She was the first woman to hold the position of full-time floor broker at the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Jarcho was the second woman to own a seat on the NYSE.

Early Life and Education

Alice Jarcho was born in 1946 in New York and attended Queens College, where she studied ballet and nursing. In 1965, Jarcho began her career as a receptionist for the brokerage firm, Hirsch & Co.

Becoming a Trader

Alice Jarcho pursued positions in the brokerage industry and was hired as an order clerk at Oppenheimer & Co., in the arbitrage department. She moved to Shearson Hayden Stone Inc. as an institutional trader and then to BernsteinMacaulay as head of its trading desk.

Jarcho joined the Loews Corporation in 1972 as a securities trader, working directly for Laurence A. Tisch, chairman of the diversified company. “Working for a man like Larry Tisch was an incredible life and business experience,” she said, “he gave me a tremendous amount of opportunity and let me run my department.”

In 1976, Jarcho was hired as a vice-president by Oppenheimer & Company and became one of five full-time floor brokers at the NYSE.

Seat on the NYSE

Oppenheimer & Company sponsored Alice Jarcho's seat, on the NYSE with its $60,000 payment in 1976. The first woman on the exchange, Muriel Siebert, was forced to sponsor herself in 1967 for $445,000, which she did in part through a loan.

Considered groundbreaking, Jarcho would work as a floor broker until 1980 and become famous as the first woman to be a full-time floor broker at the Big Board. Women had held only minor roles at the exchange in the past. In 1943, Helen Hanzelin became the first woman to work on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor as a telephone clerk for Merrill, Lynch, Pearce, Fenner & Beane and during World War II, many women held only these basic positions.

Jarcho later revealed that she faced constant sexual harassment from her male colleagues at the exchange, a situation Muriel Siebert reported as well. A turning point occurred in 1996 when twenty-six female Smith Barney employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the firm for their mistreatment, which included sexual harassment and exclusion of women from higher-level positions. The suit grew to include 2,000 women and resulted in a $150 million payout.

The New York Stock Exchange traces its origins to 24 men who, in 1792, gathered beneath a buttonwood tree to agree to trade securities exclusively with each other. A woman could not trade on the floor of the NYSE until the late 1960s.After Jarcho’s breakthrough in 1976 as the first female full-time floor broker, it would take forty-two years before a woman was named president of the NYSE. Stacey Cunningham, who rose from intern to chief operating officer, assumed the role in September 2018.

Floor trading is becoming obsolete as most trades are executed electronically. Today, the NYSE is now owned by the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange.

What Was Alice Jarcho's First Trade on the Floor of the NYSE?

Alice Jarcho's first trade was for 10,000 shares of Franklin Mint. She recounted, “I just took a few steps, slipped on a piece of paper, and fell right on my bottom. I guess I gave a couple of hundred people a good laugh. But I picked myself up and finished the execution.”

Who Influenced Alice Jarcho?

Jane R. Larkin, a leading woman at Hirsch & Company, and Laurence A. Tisch at Loews Corporation were instrumental in Jarcho's career.

What Type of Harassment Did Alice Jarcho Experience?

During Jarcho's time on the floor, the atmosphere at the NYSE was raucous and rife with practical jokes. She once stated, “There was relentless harassment... there were constant references to my body. It never ended.”

The Bottom Line

Alice Jarcho is considered a trailblazer for women at the New York Stock Exchange as the second woman to hold a seat and the first woman to work full-time on the floor as a trader.

Article Sources
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  1. The New York Times. “New Floor Trader Ends a Tradition at Big Board.”

  2. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Form 8-K, Cytta Corp."

  3. Los Angeles Times. “Muriel Siebert Dies at 84; First Woman on New York Stock Exchange.”

  4. New York Post. “How the Macho NYSE Trader Became an Endangered Species.”

  5. Intercontinental Exchange. “Women on Wall Street: 75 Years of NYSE Women on Wall Street."

  6. Time. "The Woman Who Kicked Down Wall Street's Doors."

  7. Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. "Martens v. Smith Barney."

  8. History.com. “Wall Street Timeline.”

  9. National Women’s History Museum. “Tracing the Roots of Women on Wall Street.”

  10. National Women's History Museum. "Muriel Siebert."

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