Muriel Siebert was an American businesswoman and Wall Street broker. Regarded as the "first woman of finance," Siebert was the first woman to purchase a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
Siebert founded Muriel Siebert & Company, a brokerage firm, in 1969. Muriel Siebert died on Aug. 24, 2013.
- Muriel Siebert was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
- She founded the first woman-owned brokerage firm, Muriel Siebert & Company, in 1969.
- Siebert was the first woman to serve as superintendent of banking in New York State.
Early Life and Education
Muriel Siebert was born on Sept. 12, 1928, in Cleveland, Ohio. She briefly attended Western Reserve University without completing a degree. Determined to begin her career on Wall Street, Siebert attained her first position with Bache & Company in 1954 by claiming she had successfully graduated from college. She held positions with three brokerage firms in New York City.
Seat on the NYSE
Frustrated by the pay inequity that she experienced working on Wall Street, Muriel Siebert pursued a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This would allow her to buy and sell shares directly on the trading floor. Although women were not prohibited from owning a seat, Siebert spent two years locating a sponsor for her application and a bank that would allow her to borrow the required $300,000. On Dec. 28, 1967, Siebert became the first woman to buy a seat and become a member of the NYSE.
The number of men on the NYSE when Muriel Siebert was the the sole woman.
Muriel Siebert & Company
In 1969, Muriel Siebert founded Muriel Siebert & Company. She was the first woman to own and run a brokerage firm that was a member of the NYSE. However, Siebert’s career was marked by the changing status of women in the workplace during the 1960s. Outright or subtle discrimination was evident and women faced limited access to important deal-making at New York City's all-male lunch clubs. Siebert's Jewish heritage also highlighted her exclusion, during years in which anti-Semitism was commonplace in the corporate world.
Muriel Siebert & Company continues to operate in New York City and has 15 branch offices nationwide. It is a subsidiary of Siebert Financial Corp, a holding company that also owns and operates an investment advisory and insurance arm.
Superintendent of Banking
In 1977, Siebert stepped away from her firm and was named superintendent of banking for the State of New York. The first woman to hold the position, Muriel Siebert oversaw all bank operations within the state. She also directed the Municipal Credit Union, Urban Development Corporation, and the Job Development Authority.
Muriel Siebert was a women's rights advocate and philanthropist, aiding women and minorities through advocacy within the financial services industry. She believed that the underutilization of women in business, government, and other leadership roles put America at a disadvantage on the world stage.
In 1990, Siebert started the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan, which donates partial profits from new ventures underwritten by her company.
Through the Muriel F. Siebert Foundation, she developed the "Siebert Personal Finance Program: Taking Control of Your Financial Future," a financial literacy program that has improved the lives of many middle and high school students and adults by teaching them essential financial skills.
How Did Muriel Siebert Advance Women at the NYSE?
Muriel Siebert bought a seat on the stock exchange in 1967 and her ardent fight for equality at the NYSE, specifically for the addition of women's restrooms, would not be realized for twenty years. On Feb. 9, 1987, the exclusive Exchange Luncheon Club installed its first women’s restroom.
Did Muriel Siebert Hold an Elected Office?
In 1982, Muriel Siebert ran as a Republican for the United States Senate in New York but was defeated by Florence Sullivan.
What Books Has Muriel Siebert Written?
Muriel Siebert recounts her experience in her 2007 autobiography, Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick.
The Bottom Line
Muriel Siebert's legacy continues as "the first woman of finance." From the first woman-owned seat on the NYSE to the first woman-owned brokerage firm, Muriel Siebert is regarded as a pioneer for women in the finance industry.