Founded in 1880 and headquartered in New York City, Gruntal Financial L.L.C., which was comprised of Gruntal & Co., L.L.C. and The GMS Group, L.L.C., was a high-quality full-service financial services firm with a diverse business mix serving affluent individual, institutional, and corporate clients. The firm employed approximately 620 account executives across 31 locations in the Northeast, Florida, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Texas, with client assets totaling approximately $19 billion. Gruntal & Co. consisted of a strong franchise in private client services, institutional equity sales and trading, investment banking, research, and stock loan conduit, and fixed income sales, trading, and distribution. Gruntal was a member of the NYSE and NASD.
Gruntal had a single office on Broadway. The securities broker survived the 1929 stock market crash, expanded to 11 offices and went public in 1983, and established offices throughout the U.S. after being purchased by a Swiss-based insurance company in 1987.
But Gruntal's story of success turned into a tale of greed and back-office wheeling and dealing in 1994, when the company announced that it had discovered an embezzlement scheme by three senior officials. In a 10-year period, the former officials bilked customers and the company out of about $14 million. Gruntal admitted to lapses in regulatory oversight. In 1995, former chairman and CEO Howard Silverman stepped down; he was rumored to have been pushed out. The next year, the company agreed to $6.2 million in fines, and set aside an additional $5.5 million to cover future claims.
The company was restructured in 1997 as a limited liability company and sold to a management group led by Robert Rittereiser. In April 1999, Gruntal announced that it was going to join forces with Florida-based A.F. Best Securities. But in June 1999, scandal resurfaced as the SEC sued two former senior managers, contending they diverted $11 million from customer accounts.
In April of 2002, just six months after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Gruntal was acquired by Ryan, Beck & Company of Livingston, N.J., a unit of BankAtlantic Bancorp of Florida, bringing the once-proud company’s history to a close.
We have the following pieces issued to Gruntal in our inventory: