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June 1, 2010

Brokers Raise $$$ for Charity

By John D'Antona Jr.

At least two Wall Street firms were focused on the greater good last month.

Pictured from left are Eugene-Richard Gasana, Rwandan Ambassador to the U.N.; Willa Shalit, Fair Winds Trading; Anne Heyman, Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and Seth Merrin, Liquidnet

Agency brokerages Liquidnet and BTIG raised millions for charity in May, in keeping with their annual traditions.

Liquidnet raised $500,000 on the evening of May 12 to aid Rwandan children orphaned during the country's 1994 genocide. The event was the firm's second annual "Stand Up & Be Counted" gala.

The event, co-sponsored with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Proceeds went toward the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a residential community for 250 high school orphans in Rwanda.

Liquidnet raised $500,000 for Rwanda at its gala in 2009. Overall, the alternative trading system has contributed $6 million to the central African country since 2007. The firm also donates 1 percent of its total global revenues each year to charitable causes through Liquidnet for Good, its charity arm. Separately, BTIG donated $4 million in trading commissions it earned from the 200 million shares that changed hands in its equity and equity derivatives operations.

The money will be given to 138 children's charities nationwide, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Autism Speaks, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Children of Fallen Patriots, A Little Hope, the National Down Syndrome Foundation and All-Stars Helping Kids.

"The volume of business and the volatility in the markets definitely helped us, in terms of activity on the desk," said Steve Starker, general partner of BTIG.

Pictured from left are Cynthia Kim, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation; Steve Starker, BTIG; Peter Stark, CFPF volunteer; Quincy Jallah, CFPF scholarship family and Laura McKittrick, CFPF

The day-long event featured celebrities Michael J. Fox, Matt Dillon, John McEnroe, Joe Girardi, Reggie Jackson, Ronnie Lott and Marcus Allen acting as sales traders on the phones with BTIG's clients in the firm's New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles offices to stir up interest.


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