As acting CEO of Siebert Financial Corporation (a broker/dealer institutional investment bank founded by Wall Street legend Muriel Seibert) and Â CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC (No. 2 in tax-exempt securities with $7.09 billion in lead issues on the BE Investment Banks list), Shank splits her time between the two businesses.
“I took over [Siebert Financial] in mid- to late September and most of my time has been focused on basic cost containment measures,â€ says Shank, who will be featured in BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine’s Women of Power issue in February. “We really took a hard look at the operations inside out and really instituted a number of savings, consolidating some offices and some very technical things.â€
In addition, Shank is looking to grow Siebert Financial. “We are working on some strategic initiatives going forward and my focus this year will be trying to expand the business,â€ she says. “We have about 40,000 retail accounts and they’re constantly looking for products. Those customers have about $7.2 billion in their accounts at the firm. They have money and they’re always looking to participate in the capital markets.â€
For the black-owned Siebert Brandford Shank, the firm continues to face its challenges due to the municipal bond market with volume down some 17%, according to Shank. “We remain the top minority and woman-owned firm in the business and we also remain No. 2 for largest average deal size. But we have faced an environment of increased regulatory requirements and declining spreads and that has had the biggest impact,â€ she says. “But we’re really struggling with declining spreads, so you have to do more business to reach the same revenues and be very aggressive. It’s a very interesting time in the business. ”
But Shank believes her determination and the team efforts will see both businesses through these challenges. Shank’s motto has always been one of persistence — something she likes to impart to those looking to follow her illustrious footsteps. “While education and talent are extremely important to attaining success, nothing can replace persistence and determination,â€ she asserts. “Through the ups and downs of business cycles and financial crisis, persistence is what has been most critical to ongoing success.â€
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