In five years, Lutnick transformed a company that had lost more than half its employees into a success. The company has now become two Cantor Fitzgerald, an institutional brokerage company, and Bernard Gerald Cantor, a wholesale brokerage business. In August, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York added Cantor Fitzgerald as a primary dealer permitted to trade U.S. Government Securities with the New York Fed.
But Lutnick and the majority of Cantor's 1,200 employees have worked hard not to lose sight of the victims' families. On Oct. 1, 2001, each family received a $5,000 check and promised continuation of health benefits. Today, Lutnick's sister Edie runs the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, which has donated $185 million to the victims' families. "What we've found is it's not the money, it's that they feel that we know they exist, that we care about them, that we love them," he says. And September 11 is "charity day" all of that day's revenues are donated to the CFRF, which totaled $7 million in 2005. "Those two companies have, on the shoulders of our original employees and the hundreds of new employees who have joined us, been able to do wonderful things for our families, take extraordinary care of them," he says. "That is the definition of success."
As for regrets on the decisions he made post-September 11, Lutnick says he has none. "I'm so proud of what we've accomplished," he says. "Would I change a darn thing? I would not. We are here, and I don't think we can pick and choose how it worked out." He says his life is now filled with "tremendous joy," thanks to his family. His daughter starts kindergarten this year on Sept. 11. "That's where I'll be with my wife," Lutnick says, "on my daughter's first day of big-girl school."