Those of you who haven’t spent a good deal of time poring over the biographical details of Steve Cohen, as though you were preparing to write a dissertation on The Big Guy, may not be aware that he was not in fact born on the Stamford trading floor, wearing glasses and a zip-up fleece. In fact, there was life before SAC Capital and actually a time when Cohen did not work at a place where the office bore his initials in the lobby in 12-foot font. Cohen grew up on Long Island, the son of a dressmaker, and after college got his start at a company called Gruntal & Co, which a former employee who worked there at the same time as SC describes in tremendous detail today.

The company was like the Wild West, with employees carving out niches for themselves and running them like mini-fiefdoms, according to former employees. It did not have polish. When Gruntal was based on Wall Street, in downtown Manhattan, “they had a huge ventilator in the middle of the room, blowing the air around, and a dirty, gross carpet,” recalls Don Jans, who was an institutional bond salesman at the company in the 1990s. “I remember going to visit the office and seeing this trader-girl, in a muumuu, talking on the phone,” Jans says. “She was eating a cheese Danish with one hand and smoking a cigarette in the other.”

Jans does not provide more information about this woman but it seems safe to assume she was the BSD of Gruntal who took Cohen under her wing and promised to teach her little appretience how with hard work and gumption, he too could one day wear a muumuu to work* and demand the respect of Wall Street.

Where Hedge Fund Mogul Steve Cohen Learned to Trade [Bloomberg Businessweek]

*Some of you may be saying to yourselves, “But Bess, he doesn’t wear a muumuu to work…” He doesn’t wear a muumuu to work YET. Because he hasn’t reached this lady’s status. No one has.

Comments (22)

  1. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Xanadu wasn't built in a day, rosebud.

  2. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Onion bialy w cream cheese > cheese danish

  3. Posted by Steve | December 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    My gruntal is located next to my sac

  4. Posted by Alt_EST | December 7, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I'm sorry, but all I can picture in my mind is Homer Simpson from the episode where he gains weight to get disability, in that big flower mummuu, eating a danish and hitting buttons on a Turret with his 'special dialing wand.'

  5. Posted by LetsBreel | December 7, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    “I remember going to visit the office and seeing this trader-girl, in a muumuu, talking on the phone,” Jans says. “She was eating a cheese Danish with one hand and smoking a cigarette in the other.”

    Story is not complete until we find out how she was holding the phone.

  6. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I thought the same thing but then Homer's face slowly morphed into Stevie's and I was left with a slightly less pleasant image.

  7. Posted by Hobbes | December 7, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Little do we know, but that girl in the muumuu was Ina Drew back in the day.

  8. Posted by BessLevin | December 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I know he said the cigarette was in her hand but I pictured it as: Danish in one hand, phone in the other, multiple cigarettes hanging out of her mouth.

  9. Posted by 2 cubes over | December 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    it moved.

  10. Posted by Gozer | December 7, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    This article, while interesting, has nothing relevant to say about Stevie trading nor about the firm during his tenure.

  11. Posted by Reader | December 7, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I just started reading "A Bridge Too Far" and despite it being a war book, I'm having a hard time taking it seriously.

  12. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    But it's provocative. It gets the people going!

  13. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Steve licked gross carpet to get ahead.

  14. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    [youtube Cnl5NlXVZgM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnl5NlXVZgM youtube]

    Apologies for the shitty quality

  15. Posted by Sophomoron | December 7, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    The word is "munched."

  16. Posted by Gozer | December 7, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    if this article discussed muff diving into the land of cottage cheese with danish in mouth and cigarette in asshole i would have approved

  17. Posted by Ty Webb, CFA | December 7, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    A flute with no holes < a flute
    A donut with out a hole = a Danish

  18. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Hey fatty! I gotta movie for ya!

  19. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    He's so fat he has his own congressman.

    Maybe this lady had the wooden bird that homer used to punch keys on the key board. That's probably how she dialed numbers.

    "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes."

  20. Posted by Guest | December 7, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Phone between the fat of her neck and check, cradled. Phone in one hand, cig in the other.

    Now the woman from the Drew Carey show is popping into my head.

  21. Posted by Guest | December 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Could it be?

    Deborah D'Annibale
    Registered Client Service Associate

    1983 – 1990: Gruntal & Co.
    1991 – 2006: Dean Witter
    (Morgan Stanley in 1997)
    2006 – Present:
    Morgan Stanley*
    American Cancer Society Volunteer
    Series 7 – General Securities Representative
    Series 63 – Uniform State Exam
    Series 66 – Uniform State Law Exam

  22. Posted by bulls | December 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Jooz