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September 30, 2001

Charity Begins at Home

By Sanford Wexler

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  • Charity Begins at Home

Love, compassion and charity. Wall Street has never had so much of it. In the wake of the darkest chapter in its money-making history, the trading community has been drawn closer, horrified by the attacks on the World Trade Center, deeply saddened by the death and destruction.

Wall Street has stepped forward to show the world how much it cares - comforting the family and the friends of the missing and the deceased, opening up its pocketbooks to make life a little easier for those left behind in a new and unsettled world.

Wall Street itself has become a closer-knit family.

Business competitors are allies, coming to the aide of colleagues displaced by the WTC tragedy. Others are manning telephone lines opened to take calls from grieving families. Some are coming out of retirement to temporarily help at understaffed trading desks.

Temporary Space

UBS PaineWebber, Goldman Sachs, Prudential Securities and Sungard Trading Systems/BRASS and countless others, are providing temporary office space. Some have established relief funds. Citigroup set up a $15 million scholarship for children of the victims. Prudential Securities is donating $5 million to the American Red Cross. Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch are each contributing $10 million for the disaster relief efforts. Credit Suisse Group has set aside $2 million.

Nasdaq created the Nasdaq Disaster Relief Fund, which will be contributing to private and public charities. It will match contributions, dollar-for-dollar, up to the first $1 million.

Cantor Fitzgerald, which suffered painful losses - some 700 employees were listed as missing in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack - is donating 25 percent of its profits to the victims' families. "We want to help the families pay their bills," said Peter DaPuzzo, co-president of Cantor's institutional equity trading. "We want to make sure there is enough money for them to send their children to college. We want to keep the Cantor name going in honor of those who died."

Donations are pouring in from across the land - Chicago in the Midwest, to San Francisco in the West and from up north in Canada. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is donating $1 million. The Toronto Stock Exchange and the Canadian Venture Exchange are each writing checks for $50,000 to the Sept. 11th Disaster Relief Fund, created by The United Way and The New York Community Trust.

"We are going to do all that we can to help," said Peter Driscoll, president of the Security Traders Association of Chicago. "We want to be involved in the long-term help. We want to be there for the people who need help right away," added Driscoll, a senior equity trader at the Northern Trust Company.

The Chicago STA affiliate is donating money to a college scholarship fund created by parent body, the Security Traders Association. The Chicago traders group is also earmarking the proceeds from a fund-raising event held last October for the victims' families. A fund-raising raffle is in the works for the mid-winter meeting of the Chicago STA in January.

"We feel it's very important, especially now, to show that we [the STA] is a fraternal organization," Driscoll said. "We want to show our love and support for our colleagues in New York."