Pitts­burgh So­ci­ety of In­vest­ment Pro­fes­sion­als expands its interests

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The Pitts­burgh Stock & Bond As­so­ci­a­tion started 90 years ago as a so­cial club for the city’‍s wealth­i­est res­i­dents, such as Rich­ard King Mel­lon who served as one of its orig­i­nal found­ers, but to­day the group of Pitts­burgh se­cu­ri­ties trad­ers, bro­kers and fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence for chil­dren’‍s char­i­ties.

The es­ti­mated $20,000 that the group raised Thurs­day at its an­nual sum­mer gala at the David L. Law­rence Con­ven­tion Center will be do­nated to the Robin­son-based char­i­ta­ble group Va­ri­ety, which will use the money to pur­chase spe­cial bi­cy­cles that can be op­er­ated by chil­dren born with dis­abil­i­ties that pre­vent them from rid­ing stan­dard bi­cy­cles.

“These bikes are all cus­tom­ized to a child’‍s par­tic­u­lar dis­abil­ity,” said Char­les LaVal­lee, pres­i­dent of Va­ri­ety.

In true Wall Street fash­ion, the mem­bers raised about half of the to­tal amount in a trad­ing game where they bought and sold raf­fle tick­ets, each striv­ing to own the last ticket pulled from the box. The fi­nal two ticket hold­ers, rather than duke it out to the bloody end, de­cided to for­feit to char­ity.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion also an­nounced Thurs­day that it has changed its name to the Pitts­burgh So­ci­ety of In­vest­ment Pro­fes­sion­als to re­flect that its mem­ber­ship has ex­panded be­yond just stocks and bonds.

Its 150 mem­bers rep­resent about 30 firms in the Pitts­burgh re­gion — in­clud­ing BNY Mel­lon, PNC and Fed­er­ated — that par­tic­i­pate in for­eign ex­change trad­ing, as well as de­riv­a­tives, fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ing and port­fo­lio man­age­ment.

“A strong in­vest­ment com­mu­nity in Pitts­burgh is good for the Pitts­burgh econ­omy, and this or­ga­ni­za­tion is at the core of this in­vest­ment com­mu­nity,” said Daniel Din­gus, a club board mem­ber and pres­i­dent of Fra­gasso Finan­cial Ad­vi­sors, Down­town.

Founded April 6, 1925, as the Bond Club of Pitts­burgh, the orig­i­nal mem­ber­ship rooster in­cluded Rich­ard K. Mel­lon and pres­i­dents of lead­ing banks and bro­ker­age firms in the city. Over the years, it evolved from a men-only so­cial club to one that em­braced women and mi­nor­ity mem­bers, and fo­cused on job pro­mo­tion, in­vest­ment knowl­edge and char­i­ta­ble giv­ing.

When the Bond Club of Pitts­burgh merged in 1995 with the Pitts­burgh Se­cu­rity Trad­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, the new club be­came the Pitts­burgh Stock and Bond As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We de­cided we should iden­tify our­selves as an or­ga­ni­za­tion in the com­mu­nity that wants to help chil­dren’‍s char­i­ties,” said Frank Ran­dazza, a past pres­i­dent of the club and a re­tired fund man­ager for Stifel Nicho­las, Down­town.

He said since 1995 the club has raised about $500,000 for chil­dren or­ga­ni­za­tions and causes such as ju­ve­nile di­a­be­tes, Ron­ald McDon­ald House, Mario Lemieux Foun­da­tion, High­mark Car­ing Place, Gwen’‍s Girls and Mother’‍s Hope Foun­da­tion.

“It’‍s not a large amount of money that we gen­er­ate,” Mr. Ran­dazza said. “But for our or­ga­ni­za­tion of 150 mem­bers, in a very si­lent way, we have been mak­ing a dif­fer­ence by giv­ing what we can.”

Tim Grant: tgrant@post-ga­zette.com or 412-263-1591.

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