Muriel Siebert: The First Woman of Finance

Time to take a look at another badass woman of finance whose legacy we’re dreaming of living up to! 

Muriel “Mickie” Siebert is known for being the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and as the president and founder of Siebert Financial Corp. She was also the first woman to serve as Superintendent of Banks in the state of New York.

These accomplishments made her known as “The First Woman of Finance,” but she also has a long legacy of philanthropy, advocacy, and general awesomeness that makes her queen of our hearts, as well.

In fact, our fearless leader, Susan’s very first brokerage account in the 80’s was with Muriel Siebert & Co.

That’s why amazing Mickie holds a special place in our hearts — and we hope, by the end of this post, you’ll love her like we do.

Career Woman

She was born Muriel in Cleveland in 1928, but quickly became Mickie on Wall Street when she discovered that her resume returned very few inquiries under the name Muriel, but generated a lot of interest under the name M.F. Siebert.

She settled into her nickname as she became known for her brash personality and her ability to play with the boys.

Throughout her life, she was a huge advocate for women’s rights and a dedicated philanthropist.

She not only advocated for women and minorities in the financial industry, but would also donate a LOT of free time and money to charitable organizations.

She began her career at the young age of 22 after leaving college early (read that again — she never even had a college degree!) and deciding to pursue a career on Wall Street. Go, Mickie!

When Muriel arrived on the scene, the only women on Wall Street were secretaries and support staff. Muriel said, “I don’t think so.”

She lied about having a college degree so she could get her first job training as a researcher.

She worked in a number of brokerages, changing jobs three different times when she found out men doing the same work were making more money than she was. Girl, same.

Fed up with an industry run by men, for men (girl, SAME), she decided to start her own brokerage.

Back then, this required purchasing a seat on the New York Stock Exchange — basically, purchasing a “membership” that allowed you to trade on the floor of the stock market. 

Sounds like a ticket to the “Boys Only” club, but okay.

This meant that her future required the stamp of approval of many of the men she fought so hard to be taken seriously by — not only did her application need to be accepted, she needed sponsorship.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, she was turned down by the first nine men she asked to sponsor her application.

To make the process even more difficult, the exchange told her that her seat would cost $445,000 (a nearly record price, by the way) and insisted that she get a bank to lend her $300,000 of the total price. 

No applicant had EVER been asked to do this before. Hmm, wonder why?? (heavy sarcasm, here). 

muriel siebert

Ready for a fun Catch 22?

The banks refused to lend her money unless the exchange admitted her and the exchange wouldn’t admit her unless the banks would lend to her.

Neat, right? We love a good no-win situation.

But, no one could stop The First Woman of Finance.

After nearly two years, she got the loan from Chase Manhattan and was elected to the NYSE in 1967 as the first woman to ever be chosen.

For ten years, it stayed that way — 1,365 men… and Muriel.

Her Legacy

Muriel Siebert was the president and founder of Siebert Financial Corp., a holding company which owns and operates a discount brokerage and investment banking business.

Her namesake company, Muriel Siebert & Co., is still an active asset management and investment firm located in New York City.

In 1977, she was named Superintendent of Banks for the State of New York, where she oversaw all banks operating in the state (otherwise known as a whopping $500 billion in assets). 

She started the Siebert Entrepreneurial Philanthropic Plan and acted as president of the New York Women’s Agenda in 1998, which created a program to promote financial literacy among women.

She died in 2013 at the age of 84 leaving $100,000 to her beloved Chihuahua, Monster Girl, (plus millions more for animal rescue and care). 

She was never married and never had children, solidly affirming that a woman does NOT need to marry a man and raise children to have a meaningful legacy (or existence, for that matter).

Though we could go on and on about her many accomplishments, Muriel’s most important legacy is her system of belief. She believed that every aspect of commerce and government would benefit from different perspectives and experiences.

It’s a Woman’s World

More than anything, Muriel believed that women were underrepresented and underused in business, government, and other leadership roles in America and that this, in turn, was a disadvantage to the world at large.

We couldn’t agree more.

That’s why we hope we’re making Muriel proud and encouraging women like you to take their finances and their futures into their own hands, despite the opposition along the way. 

If Muriel taught us anything, it’s to take charge, change our names, get a Chihuahua, and start conquering the freaking world. 

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