Firm starts program amid Wall Street ashes

By Aaron Siegel | Investment News

Even as Wall Street firms continue to bleed assets and cut jobs, a broker-dealer has launched a program to provide training to wounded soldiers who want to succeed on Wall Street.

The Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, which aims to prepare disabled military veterans for careers in the financial services industry, has selected two former soldiers to participate in the foundation’s new academic and vocational training program.

The foundation was started by Lawrence Doll, a disabled Vietnam War veteran who is also chairman and chief executive of Drexel Hamilton LP, a broker-dealer in Philadelphia.

The program, Operation Wall Street, which was launched by Drexel Hamilton in December, is a sixmonth financial industry immersion program that includes training programs, assessment and career

“We are looking for men and women who have been wounded and we are looking to give them opportunities that they may not already have,” Mr. Doll said. “As a veteran myself, we wanted to do something to help
returning vets.”

Participants in the program will be based in Philadelphia and will spend time in New York and Chicago.
They will take part in two-week internships that include in-house training at The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of New York and the Chicago Board Options Exchange Inc.

In addition to a monthly stipend, students enrolled in the program will receive expenses for travel, training materials, room and board, and securities exam courses to prepare for Series 7 and 63 certifications.

Mr. Doll plans to expand the program to 10 students in the spring of 2010.


The first two students in the program, Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones and Army Master Sgt. George Holmes, will
begin their studies on Jan. 19.

A 12-year military veteran, Mr. Jones, 31, lost both of his legs below the knee in 2005 when his Humvee was hit by an anti-tank mine in Iraq.

Following his tour of duty, he decided to enroll at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo., with the intent of eventually pursuing a finance degree.

Mr. Jones took on the opportunity to join the Warfighters group with the aim of attaining a securities license, which would allow him to enter the financial services industry and eventually become a Wall Street broker.

Mr. Holmes, 37, was a credit analyst for Cores States Bank/First Union National Bank in Philadelphia (now
Wachovia Corp. of Charlotte, N.C.), and an assistant vice president of the Middle East division for Thompson
Financial Inc.’s Bank Watch in New York. But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was compelled to contact his old National Guard unit and re-enlist.

Already a Desert Storm veteran, Mr. Holmes was a master sergeant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard
when in June a rocket attack severely injured both legs, shattered two bones in the left arm, collapsed his lung and perforated his eardrum. The two men next to him were killed, while he managed to save his own life by stopping the bleeding from a severed leg artery.

It says a lot for someone “who sacrificed their limbs and is willing to sacrifice their life for the country, to go out into the financial world,” said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who is also a partner at Drexel Hamilton and spoke at a December press conference announcing the launch of the program.

Investors will find it very comforting to have people with enormous integrity watching over their financial assets, he added.