Z. Lou Guttman

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Z. Lou Guttman
Occupation Chairman (1988-1993)
Employer NYMEX
Location New York

The late Z. Lou Guttman was chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 1988 to 1993. He died in January of 2016.[1]

Background

The son of Jewish-Hungarian emigres, Guttman was born in 1949 and came to New York in 1956 with his younger sister. After graduating from Baruch College, he took a job at a New York accounting firm but soon left it to join a stock brokerage called Commonwealth Securities. He worked in the back office, eventually saving enough money to buy a seat at the NYMEX. He became chairman of the NYMEX 10 years later.[2]

As chairman, he was instrumental in keeping the exchange open after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, when other businesses in the buildings around the Trade Center were forced to close.

In 1993 the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a complaint against Guttman, then the chairman of NYMEX, accusing him of illegal trades in 1989 that raised about $19 million to cover trading debts. The CFTC charged his firm, Gerald Inc., and several brokers of noncompetitive, or prearranged, trades. Gerald Inc. paid a $65,000 penalty without affirming or denying the allegations. The alleged trades were executed on the New York Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange, not the NYMEX.[3] Guttman wasn't accused of illegal trades himself, but of supervising an account that his then-partner allegedly used illegally. [4] He was eventually banned from trading for five years.[5]

Following the scandal, the NYMEX board asked Guttman to quit but he refused. When the board nominating committee passed him over as a candidate for reelection, he got signatures from 50 of the exchange's 700+ voting members to get on the ballot, but the nominating committee selected Daniel Rappaport, and Rappaport became the next chairman.

After his tenure as chairman, Guttman was known as the man behind the NYMEX Advocate, a newsletter that kept fellow members informed about what was happening with the exchange.

Education

Guttman graduated from Baruch College in New York City.

References

  1. John Lothian. Scoopnest.
  2. The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market. HarperCollins.com.
  3. Merc's Chief Is Accused of Illegal Trades. The New York Times.
  4. Guttman Scrambled to Keep Exchanges Open : Bombing: After the World Trade Center blast, the controversial Nymex chairman played a major role to keep commodity exchanges from missing a beat. L.A. Times.
  5. Merc asks Guttman to resign. UPI.