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August 31, 2002

A Hobbled Wall Street Goes On After September 11: Trying to survive a tragedy, traders remember the

By Gregory Bresiger

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  • A Hobbled Wall Street Goes On After September 11: Trying to survive a tragedy, traders remember the

The battered trading industry will continue to mourn for many years to come. Twelve months after the horrible attack on the World Trade Center claimed some three thousand lives and cut short the careers of hundreds of trading professionals, the STA was about to hold a memorial service to honor those who died in last year's tragedy.

For those industry participants who lived through the tragedy of September 11, the wounds are no different than those that were inflicted on the survivors of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack marked the beginning of America's participation in World War II.

September 11, the opening strike for another kind of war, remains a vivid memory for many trading industry officials. It is an event seared into the consciousness of many traders now and forever.

"I feel very close to it. We had so many friends there. It can never be forgotten," according to John Giesea of the Security Traders Association, which had scheduled a memorial service for September 3 at St. Paul the Apostle Church near Lincoln Center in midtown Manhattan. "This is very appropriate. We want to remember friends. We never want to forget our many friends who are gone," Giesea said.

Best Friend

Another professional said his loss was personal. "I lost my best friend on that day and that can be never be forgotten," said Mark Madoff, co-director of trading at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and president of STA's biggest affiliate, the Security Traders Association of New York. Madoff became STANY president when his friend Timothy Grazioso, a beloved Cantor Fitzgerald executive and the incoming president of STANY, died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Madoff said that September 11 will always be a time to reflect. Several other trading executives are still grieving. "There will be sadness on September 11 this year. I wouldn't say there will be nervousness among traders because that would be capitulating to fear," said Arthur Pacheco, senior managing director of European equity sales at Bear Stearns, responding to a question.

"They [the enemy] would love us to be afraid, wouldn't they?" he added.

The memory of September 11 has left scars. "I can't really say anything about it. It is just too painful," said another executive with a major market making firm. "It is something I would rather just not talk about," said another. "But I tell you this: I will go to my grave remembering how many of my friends died that terrible day."

The STA has tried to find closure with the memorial service while raising around $500,000 through its STAR fund to help the families of the victims. But some wounds can never be healed.