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Sal Trani, 72; rebuilt Cantor Fitzgerald unit after 9/11

NEW YORK — Salvatore J. Trani, who helped rebuild the credit unit of Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s BGC Partners Inc. after 658 of the firm’s employees were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has died. He was 72.

He died May 7 from brain cancer in Port Washington, N.Y., according to his daughter, Christiane Koundourakis. He resided in Brookville, New York, and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with his wife of almost 50 years, Marianne.

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In 2005, Mr. Trani, who had already helped develop the business of facilitating bond trades between banks in a Wall Street career spanning five decades, joined BGC as executive managing director one year following its spinoff from Cantor and four years after terrorists flew hijacked planes into Manhattan’s World Trade Center towers. The attack killed more than 2,700 people, including 69 percent of Cantor’s New York employees.

“BGC in 2001 lost all its staff,” Lou Scotto, general manager of BGC’s North America business, said Friday in an interview. Mr. Trani “singularly was responsible for recruiting and developing BGC’s credit division” in its recovery, Scotto said.

Mr. Trani helped negotiate the 2005 purchase of Maxcor Financial Group Inc., adding more than 150 brokers in New York, Scotto said. He introduced BGC to Maxcor chief executive Gilbert Scharf and recruited and trained other top salesmen and traders.

Last year, the credit division produced $284.6 million of revenue for BGC, the world’s second-largest interdealer broker after London-based ICAP Plc. The firm is still part-owned by Cantor and shares its chief executive, Howard Lutnick.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Trani helped save the lives of his colleagues at ICAP, where he was working at the time, according to Michael Spencer, the firm’s chief executive. He was on the 55th floor of the second tower of the World Trade Center when the other tower was hit. After an announcement in the building that workers should return to their desks, Mr. Trani told everyone to leave, then stayed until they had.

“When the guys in 55 saw the other building had been hit, Sal made the decision to evacuate the floor,” Spencer said Friday in a telephone interview. “That proved to be an enormously foresightful decision.”

Salvatore Joseph Trani was born in Brooklyn.

He served in the Navy until he was discharged following injuries in a helicopter accident, Koundourakis said. He met Marianne, an elementary school teacher, while they were at a resort in the Catskills and proposed to her a few months later, his daughter said.

Mr.Trani began his career on Wall Street in the 1950s as a runner at the New York Stock Exchange while earning a bachelor of science degree at New York University at night. He later received an MBA.

In 1979, Mr. Trani joined Mabon Nugent & Co. from Stern, Lauer & Co. and started building it into a major interdealer broker of corporate debt, according to his son-in-law, Alex Koundourakis. As an interdealer broker, he facilitated anonymous trades between banks that held most of the corporate bond market. The brokers matched trades without taking risk themselves, earning a commission.

“He revolutionized the business of trading between all the dealers who were the biggest holders and providers of liquidity in corporate bond market,” Alex Koundourakis, a partner and head of trading at Gracie Credit Opportunities Fund LP in New York, said.

“People wanted to work for Sal and with Sal,” Grasso said in an interview. “He was always the kind of guy who saw where the industry was going.”

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Trani leaves another daughter, Allison Kellan; five grandchildren; two brothers, Joseph and Dominick; and one sister, Ann Trani Coppolo.

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