Yale University

In Memoriam

Jonathan Auerbach

Jon Auerbach died on November 29, 2012. Below are two obituaries, one from Bloomberg.com and one from the New York Times, as well as a nice note from David Sherman '64. Also see Jon's photo gallery on this website.

Jonathan Auerbach, Broker at Investing Frontiers, Dies at 70

Obituary on Bloomberg.com with accompanying video

8/31/12: Jon Auerbach on emerging markets, investment strategy, and gold prices

Jonathan L. Auerbach, who explored new frontiers for investors as co-founder of Auerbach Grayson & Co., a brokerage that specializes in international trading, has died. He was 70.

Jon Auerbach
1964 graduation

He died on Nov. 29 at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, his co-managing director, David Grayson, said today in an interview. The cause was lung cancer, which had been diagnosed in September.

Founded in 1993, New York-based Auerbach Grayson provides research and executes trades in international securities for U.S. mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds and other institutional investors, utilizing a global network of brokerage partners. It operates in 130 markets and was among the first foreign brokers to do business in Russia, Egypt, South Africa, and Iraq, among other nations.

The firm kept doing business through wars and riots in places such as Sri Lanka and the Middle East, according to How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance, a 2011 book by Parag Khanna.

"Even when they're bombing in Gaza, they're trading in Ramallah," Auerbach said, according to the book.

Khanna wrote: "By providing access to capital where it is needed most, Auerbach is an agent of development for the connected age."

Libya Optimism

In March, speaking from Bucharest, Auerbach said on Bloomberg Radio's "Taking Stock" that he was traveling to Tripoli, by way of Kiev and Frankfurt, to help open Libya as a market for investors.

"They have a stock exchange, and the first day of trading was last Friday," Auerbach said in the interview. "There are 12 listed companies, a couple of banks and some real estate, and they traded about $300,000. So I'll be meeting not only with the government people, to talk about access, but also will be talking to some stock brokers to set up our connectivity into the market so that we can start to trade it."

"You know, we started trading in Iraq about two years ago now, and it works," Auerbach said. "And I don't see any reason why Libya is not going to work."

Asked about concerns that the revolutions of the so-called Arab Spring would usher in new autocratic regimes, he said:

"I just tell everybody, 'Don't listen to the noise.' Every one of these countries has had millions of people who have made their choice, and that is to have transparency, rule of law, and really empowerment of the private sector. Talking to senior executives recently in Egypt, to a person, every one of them said for the first time in their business they don't look over their shoulder when they make business decisions."

Grayson said that "in recent years, Jon had developed a special affection for Africa and was traveling there three or four times a year."

Parents, Upbringing

Jonathan Lewis Auerbach was born on Nov. 25, 1942, in Philadelphia to Joseph and Judith Auerbach. He grew up in New Hampshire and the Boston area and also spent part of his childhood in Dusseldorf, Germany, when his father worked for the U.S. Army, Grayson said.

His father was a partner in the law firm of Sullivan & Worcester and a professor at Harvard Business School, both in Boston. His mother was a reference librarian at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Career Path

Auerbach graduated from Yale University in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army, according to a biography on the company website.

He began his career on Wall Street in 1966, according to the profile. In the early 1970s, he was senior vice president for capital markets at UBS-DB, a joint affiliate of Union Bank of Switzerland and Deutsche Bank AG.

He was managing director for capital markets at Dillon Read & Co.'s London office from 1984 to 1986, then opened his own firm, J.L. Auerbach & Co. in London, according to a 1988 United Press International article. In 1988 he returned to New York to be chairman of Cresvale International Inc., a member of the Cresvale Group, a specialist in international equity-related securities.

At the midtown Manhattan office of their 75-person firm, Auerbach and Grayson shared an office and faced each other at an old-fashioned partner's desk.

"We'd hold our daily meetings and talk about business, life, children," Grayson recalled.

Auerbach's wide-ranging interests included art, theater, film, environmental advocacy and vintage-car road rallies. In May, he and one of his sons took part in a New York-to-Vancouver leg of the Trans-America Challenge in his 1951 Chrysler New Yorker, according to a death notice in the New York Times.

Auerbach's survivors include his wife, Annie Luce; four children, Gabrielle, Jake, Nick and Sasha; and his father, according to the death notice. A previous marriage, to Jacqueline Ann Zuccaire, ended in divorce, according to a Times wedding announcement.



New York Times

December 2, 2012

AUERBACH--Jonathan L., beloved husband and father, international businessman and avid supporter of the arts, died November 29 in New York City. He was 70 years old.

Jonathan is survived by his wife, Annie Luce, and his four children, Gabrielle, Jake, Nick and Sasha, his father Joseph Auerbach, and sister Hope Pym.

He was a founder and managing director of Auerbach Grayson & Company, which provides international securities research, execution, and settlement for U.S. institutions. The firm, which he started in 1993, was the capstone of a career in international securities trading and marketing that spanned more than 40 years.

Jonathan was a graduate of Yale University. After his graduation from Yale he served in the U.S. Army. A multifaceted person with wide-ranging interests, Jonathan was involved in art, theater, film, environmental advocacy and vintage car road rallies. In May this year he took part in the Trans-America Rally in his 1951 Chrysler New Yorker, navigated by his son Jake, and they drove over 4000 miles from New York City to Vancouver. He also competed in several motoring events and rallies outside of Trans-America including the Mount Washington "Climb to the Clouds" and the New Jersey "Vintage Grand Prix."

He served in leadership roles at the Shakespeare Globe Center in the United States and the Globe Center in London, which he helped found. He produced the acclaimed underground film "Vortex," which was selected for the New York Film Festival and other major festivals, and appeared in the film "Belladonna," which premiered at the Whitney Biennal.

Jonathan was also committed to providing opportunities for young people. He combined this passion with his love of international business by establishing a number of internship programs that gave students the opportunity to participate in the development of capital markets in emerging countries. He also started a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Noble and Greenough School, in Dedham, MA, to provide assistance primarily for students from emerging markets. He also served as a trustee of the Dwight School.

Jonathan had a deep affinity for Africa as a developing nation. His friendship with conservationist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai inspired him to support the Green Belt Movement with a reforestation project in the Machakos District of Kenya.

Memorial service to take place in January.


Note by David Sherman '64

June 16, 2013

Yesterday at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London, Annie Luce Auerbach and Jake and John and other Auerbach-related and -connected friends, including me, saw a production of Shakespears's "A Midsummer Nights's Dream." After the play, nine individuals were honored by The Globe for their contribution to the birth and continued existence of the theatre. Auerbach was among them. This is what was said about our Pierson mate:

"Jonathan was a lifelong supporter of the arts in all its forms. He and his father, Joseph, met Sam Wanamaker in the early 1980's and Jonathan served on the founding board of The Shakespeare Globe Trust. He then served as President and later as a board member of the Shakespeare Globe Center, USA. He won over many supporters with his larger-than-life presence, his penchant for quoting Shakespeare in everyday conversation, and his tendency to show up at fundraising events in Elizabethan dress. He was not shy to ask for support for the project, and he did so successfully. Seeing Sam's dream come true was among Jonathan's most satisfying accomplishments."

Sam Wanamaker, from Chicago, was an actor. See his Wikipedia entry.