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After Bin Laden's Death, Wall Street Breathes Tentative Sigh Of Relief

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SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL
A mourner holding a photograph of a missing man leaves a private memorial service for Cantor Fitzgerald employees who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Monday, Oct. 1, 2001, in New York's Central Park. | AP File Photo

NEW YORK -- On September 11, 2001, the financial services industry suffered heavy fatalities when New York's World Trade Center was destroyed by two hijacked planes. The morning after the death of the man responsible for those attacks, the industry is finally breathing a tentative sigh of relief.

Cantor Fitzgerald, a brokerage firm and investment bank once located on the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 staffers -- the largest loss of life at any single company. Cantor's CEO, Howard Lutnick, whose brother was killed during the attack, told CBS' "The Early Show" that his first reaction upon learning of bin Laden's death was to "exhale."

"[I've] been waiting for this for a long time I mean, the guy got away for 10 years with killing my brother, and 658 of the people who worked with me. And I know their families really well. And it was time. And I'm glad we got him," Lutnick told CBS. "I was afraid at first that maybe he died of cancer, which sort of would have left a big open sore there. But at least we got him."

Cantor Fitzgerald also issued an official statement expressing relief and thanks:

It's been a long and painful 10 years since the worst attack in America's history. Now no other families will suffer the way that so many families have from [bin Laden's] hand. On behalf of all those who perished, our heartfelt thanks go to the military and intelligence community and all those who have served our country with perseverance and fortitude and courage to bring this terrorist to justice and to make this a safer and saner world.

Other Wall Street firms that suffered heavy fatalities expressed similar sentiments Monday.

“There’s a great sense of satisfaction, relief and pride at KBW today," Neil Shapiro, a spokesperson for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, wrote in an email. KBW is a Financial Services firm that lost 67 employees on Sept. 11. "We are grateful to the U.S. government and to our servicemen and women for pulling off this complex mission. Without question, the world is now a better place.” KBW still devotes a section of their company website to honoring those colleagues that died nearly a decade ago.

Other financial firms were less forthcoming. At Marsh & McLennan Companies, where 355 died at the World Trade Center, a spokesperson said that the company would hold its annual Sept. 11 commemoration again this year, but otherwise declined to comment.

On Monday morning, financial titans Warren Buffett and Jack Welch spoke together on CNBC. According to Reuters, Buffet had already scheduled an interview to discuss the recent annual Berskshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, but the news of bin Laden's death dominated the discussion.

"It felt good. It was joy," Buffet said. But he cautioned that he still worries about terrorist attacks.

"I hope it's the beginnings of the kindling wood starting to burn in the American spirit," Welch said.

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