Charities Shine During Turbulent Times

Tough times on Wall Street haven’t stopped a number of firms from stepping up and donating a day’s commissions to a number of good causes. Charity-day events remain annual rites at many firms, including Lazard Capital Markets, ICAP, BGC Partners and CIBC. Lazard hosts its annual charity day today.

Lazard will donate all of the day’s commissions it generates on its equity, convertible and fixed-income desks. Lazard, like many of the other firms, has a famous person on hand for the event. Actor Michael J. Fox, who’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease, will be on the trading desk. Beneficiaries for the day include Fox’s charity, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as UCSF Medical Center Heart & Lung Transplant Patient & Family Fund and the Epiphany School of Boston, Mass.

Other firms have already had successful charity trading days. ICAP, one of the largest global interdealer-brokers, raised $16.3 million for over 100 charities on Dec. 10, its 16th annual global Charity Day event. In the U.S., the charities supported included Communities in Schools, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stop Hunger Now and the Boomer Esiason Foundation.

ICAP held its first Charity Day in 1993, and has so far raised $79.2 million globally. This year, the U.K.’s Prince Harry attended Charity Day in London. In the firm’s Jersey City office, former athletes Boomer Esiason, Joe Montana and Don Zimmer, and actors Meryl Streep and Matt Dillon, manned the phones before handing clients off to actual traders.

CIBC and BGC Partners also had recent events. CIBC World Markets and CIBC Wood Gundy in Canada held their long-running Miracle Day on Dec. 3, raising over $2 million for charities focused on children’s education and health. Since its inception in 1984, Miracle Day has raised more than $192 million globally, including $43 million in Canada.

Interdealer-broker BGC Partners held its fourth annual Global Charity Day on Sept. 11, raising over $8 million with the help of stage, screen and sports celebs. BGC has raised more than $23 million since 2005. The U.S. charities supported this year include the National Down Syndrome Society, Ice Hockey in Harlem and the Wounded Warrior Project.