Institutional securities firm Jefferies & Co. Inc. responded to the tsunami disaster by leveraging its expertise in trade execution. The New York-based firm collected net trading revenues and commissions from Monday, Jan. 10, and combined that with voluntary employee donations.
"Markets are horrendous right now, but we had a spectacularly good day on Monday. Volumes basically tripled," said Richard B. Handler, Jefferies chairman and chief executive officer, in an interview. "When everyone is pulling in the same direction, it makes trading a lot easier and a lot more fun. People poured in volume."
The company collected a total of $3 million for relief efforts in Asia. The money will be sent to a number of organizations endorsed by former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton through USA Freedom Corps.
Mr. Handler explained that the firm first donated a day's worth of trading revenues and commissions after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, so "the idea was fresh in our minds because we knew what we were capable of doing." That time, the firm raised $6.5 million in a day.
"The unique thing about us is that we touch so many institutional investors on the trading platform," he said. "We're thrilled our clients and our vendors and all of our employee partners were willing to do this for all the right reasons."