Once a year you can call your guy at equities trading firm BTIG and get a supermodel on the line. Or it could be a New York Yankee or a New York Giant. The list of celebrities is long.
It’s all for an annual event taking place on Tuesday in New York City and San Francisco called Commissions for Charity. The commissions from every trade BTIG executes that day will go to over 200 charities such as Project Sunshine. Last year the firm raised $US4.5 million.
“Wall Street gets a bad rap for the greed and excess … but I think this is one of the good sides of Wall Street,” said BTIG cofounder Steve Starker.
This year celebrity traders include baseball star Barry Bonds, former New York Yankees star pitcher Mariano Rivera, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, model Petra Nemcova, Padma Lakshmi, Bridget Moynahan, and others. It all starts at 11 a.m. EST.
The event has come a long way since Starker and his cofounder Scott Kovalik started it 12 years ago. Back then there were five traders on the task, and the firm raised $US450,000. As the firm grew, the event grew with it.
Now BTIG is an international firm with 460 employees, but Starker says this event helps maintain the small, family feel he’s tried to engender. He thinks it’s important to keep in mind that everyone who works at BTIG isn’t just a Wall Streeter; they’re mums and dads, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. Those roles matter.
“This firm is about culture,” Starker told Business Insider “We’re not a punch-the-clock kind of place.”
That isn’t to say BTIG isn’t a competitive place. One look around the office and you still get the impression that Starker and his team are in a race. It’s energetic and loud. Starker isn’t in his office much; he’s out on the floor commanding the troops.
And on Tuesday those troops will be out crushing it as hard as they can. BTIG does four times its normal trading volume on charity day, even though traders are still battling the same market they do any other day. Sometimes the waters are even choppier than normal. In 2010, the event took place the same day as the so-called Flash Crash, when the market dropped 9% in the blink of an eye for reasons Wall Streeters still argue about.
Not that it was the craziest thing Starker has ever seen in his career. His first day of trading was on Black Friday in 1987. Talk about a rough start.
This year’s celebrity traders better hope that Tuesday isn’t nearly as historic. We’ve got the list of everyone participating below. Good luck!
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