Born to Be a Bond Trader
Joshua Reiss was practically born a savvy dealer. At 10, though he was too young, he talked his way into a paper route and won a trip to Disney World as the top paperboy in Yardley, Pa. But when the managers discovered his age, they took the award away and offered him $300 as a consolation prize, an amount that would greatly impress most fifth graders. Not Joshua. He did a bit of bargaining and they upped it to $500.
Bond trading at Cantor Fitzgerald was ideal for him. "The action, the people," said Gary Reiss, his father, at the family home in Yardley. "He was 23 and making six figures." And, after only five months at Cantor, he was spending it freely on his family. He covered one brother's varsity football expenses and sent another, who was away at college, two blank checks. "If you need more, call me," he said. "I don't want you to have to work. Just study. And don't tell Dad."
As a teenager he told his father: "You never take time off. When I get some money I'm going to make you go on a vacation." He had it all planned: next summer he and his father and three brothers were going whitewater rafting in Colorado. And he was paying. Period.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 6, 2001.
Joshua Reiss, enthusiastic, street-smart
Joshua Reiss did nothing half- heartedly.
Growing up, he helped out around his family's clothing stores near Trenton.
But it was more than the usual sense of family obligation, recalled his father, Gary. Joshua Reiss really loved dealing with customers and making sales.
"He was into the action of making a sale," said Gary Reiss. "He liked being with people. Even when he was at college and the other kids were going on spring break, he'd come up here to help out."
Mr. Reiss' talent and enthusiasm put him on the fast track on Wall Street. He was snapped up by a bond trading firm shortly after graduating from the University of South Carolina last year. And five months ago, he was recruited by Cantor Fitzgerald.
Mr. Reiss, 23, who grew up in Yardley, Pa., and lived in New York, was on the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center on Sept. 11 when terrorists crashed a jetliner into the building.
Mr. Reiss spent time with his parents several weeks ago when he flew to Las Vegas for a clothing industry trade show. Gary Reiss remembered being amazed by his son's ability to quickly size up the odds of various casino games.
"I told my wife, 'I hope he doesn't like this too much,'" Gary Reiss said.
When Joshua Reiss took a job waiting tables at a campus steakhouse, his enthusiasm quickly caught the eye of a regular -- South Carolina football coach Lou Holtz. Holtz would seek out Mr. Reiss whenever he dined, Gary Reiss said.
Holtz was among those calling to offer condolences, he said.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Reiss messaged a friend to ask about tickets for an upcoming South Carolina football game. He was talking on the phone with the friend when he said, "I've got to get out of here, a plane just hit the building."
That was the last anybody heard from him.
"This kid was a player," Gary Reiss said. "He was as street-smart as they come, the kind of thing you can't learn in college."
Profile by Robert Gebeloff published in THE STAR-LEDGER.