Kathleen Moriarty Colleagues Pay Tribute to ETF Pioneer

State Street executives paid tribute to Kathleen Moriarty, the lawyer instrumental to developing the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), who passed away in December.

“Kathleen was the epitome of a lawyer. She became the go-to lawyer in this industry,” said Jim Ross, executive vice president of State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and chairman of the global SPDR business at Exchange: An ETF Experience on Monday. “But she was a lot more than just a lawyer. She was a kind and gentle person. She was a great, great person.”

Moriarty, who contributed to the development of exchange traded products and exchange traded funds, including the SPDRs, was senior counsel at Chapman and Cutler LLP. She previously worked for such firms as Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Carter Ledyard & Milburn, Harkins Delafield & Wood LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. She got her degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., in 1980 after graduating from Smith in 1975.

Kathleen Moriarty Colleagues Pay Tribute to ETF Pioneer

Moriarty was known as “The Spider-Woman” for her work with the SPDR business. But according to Susan Thompson, executive vice president at SSGA and head of Americas distribution for SPDR ETFs, “she was so much more to Women in ETFs.”

“She brought so many people together,” Thompson said. “That connectivity and that supporting of other women… really represents… the fearlessness of what we want to see from women in the industry. She exemplifies the ‘Fearless Girl.’”

The Fearless Girl sculpture was installed across from the New York Stock Exchange in 2017 to promote the SPDR MSCI USA Gender Diversity ETF (SHE), an ETF that invests in companies with a high percentage of women among their senior leadership.

Following Thompson’s remarks, Moriarty’s former colleagues unveiled a replica of the Fearless Girl statue on the stage in her honor.

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