Lee B. Stern (born December 27, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois) is the longest tenured trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. He has been one of the most successful traders in the commodities market throughout his time there, and is well known for his involvement in the Chicago sports scene as well. He was the President of the North American Soccer League's Chicago Sting, and is currently a director and minority owner of the Chicago White Sox.
Stern attended Senn High School. Upon graduation in 1945, he attended the University of Illinois and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. cadet program and reported for active duty in 1945. After serving two years including a stint in the army of occupation in Germany, he attended Roosevelt University in Chicago, before starting at the Chicago Board of Trade. Lee married Norma Retchin in 1951. They have 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Stern began his career as a clerk for Merrill Lynch in December 1947.
After a successful run of twenty years in futures and options trading, Stern opened a clearing firm, Lee B. Stern & Company in 1967.
Life-long love of Chicago sports
Stern also served as Chairman of the NASL Executive Committee in 1981 and 1982 as well as Chairman of the MISL Executive Committee from 1986 - 1988.
Stern was a member of the U.S. World Cup Founder's Club which and served as one of the major participants in bringing the World Cup Chicago.
Victim of illegal activities
On October 22, 1992, Darrell Zimmerman of Chicago, Illinois and Anthony Catalfo of Bayside, Queens, New York, attempted to manipulate the US Treasury bond futures and options market of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The gist of the scam was to depress prices long enough for Zimmerman and Catalfo to turn a sizable profit. Catalfo reportedly profited approximately $1,500,000 but Zimmerman lost nearly $9,000,000, for which his clearing firm, Lee B. Stern & Company, would be held liable.
After an initial suspension of trading and clearing privileges, Lee B. Stern & Company, Lee Stern, son Daniel Stern, and Lester Moucher, the three principals of the Lee B. Stern & Company, the Chicago Board of Trade had the suspension expunged on October 28, 1992.
A CBOT arbitration panel found Zimmerman and Catalfo guilty of fraud and conspiracy, fining Zimmerman $1,500,000 and Catalfo $750,000 and ordered them jointly liable to Lee B. Stern & Co. for $8.6 million in damages.
On July 6, 1994, Catalfo was found guilty of six counts of wire fraud by a Federal jury and sentenced to 42 months in prison.
Stern, now president of LBS Limited Partnership, celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Chicago Board of Trade member on November 8, 2009.
Stern has been quoted as saying his motto is: "You can't buy integrity and once you lose it no amount of money can buy it back."
The family business
Among Stern's children, son's Jeffrey, Daniel and Kenny, as well as daughter January have all been involved in the futures and options markets in Chicago.
- "Stern to enter Hall of Fame," Chicago Tribune, Friday, October 24, 2003.
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