E. Nelson Asiel, a third-generation leader of one of Wall Street’s oldest brokerage firms, Asiel & Co., has died. He was 96.
He died on Aug. 5 at his home in White Plains, New York, according to his son, John Asiel.
Asiel, known as Bill, and his firm were broker’s brokers, handling the deals of other finance companies when they needed to sell or acquire assets. His 1941 marriage to Betty Lehman, a great-granddaughter of Mayer Lehman, the co-founder of Lehman Brothers, connected the lineages of two great Wall Street names.
Asiel’s grandfather, Elias, started the firm in 1878 and was succeeded as managing partner by Asiel’s father, Nelson, who became a governing member of the New York Stock Exchange.
During World War I, the firm became a top broker of Liberty Bonds sold to fund the U.S. military. When bankrupt railroads were being reorganized during the Great Depression, Asiel traded their bonds.
The firm was merged in 2000 with Tradition Government Securities Inc., a unit of Swiss brokerage Cie. Financiere Tradition SA, forming today’s New York-based Tradition Asiel Securities Inc.
E. Nelson Asiel was born on June 10, 1917, in New York City, and grew up there and in Elberon, New Jersey. His mother was the former Ethel Rossin.
He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1939 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1942.
He worked as a lawyer at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for almost 10 years before joining the family business. He became one of the firm’s senior managing members when it became a limited liability company, his son said.
He remained active through the company’s merger, finally retiring at age 90.
Survivors include his sons John and Harold and daughter Terri, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.