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FOR $7,500, HE'LL BURY YOU IN FLORIDA'S SEA

A Wall Street banker jumps ship for a plunge into the death care industry, upscale division.

After four years of trading subprime mortgages, Jason Rew jettisoned his job at the investment bank Goldman Sachs and founded an off-shore business.

Rew started Great Burial Reef, which inters cremated remains in urns off the coast of Florida.

With the subprime crisis creating billion-dollar losses at investment banks, Rew's shift into death care, as it is known, might seem lifesaving, career-wise.

As homebuyers with shaky credit histories default on their loans in record numbers, the losses to investors and lenders have led to layoffs on Wall Street and have sent stock markets plummeting, stoking fears of an economic recession.

Rew's unusual bet on a career in death care comes as Goldman Sachs looks as if might come out of the turmoil in better shape than its rivals in investment banking.

Rew left Goldman last February, before the credit market began to tighten in August and losses from subprime mortgage investments began to disrupt the stock markets.

While he is loath to say he saw the problems coming - "at the time everybody thought things were still optimistic and unknown" - he said he felt the good times would not last.

"We had had four years of unprecedented growth and prosperity, but it was going to be hard to continue that kind of upward climb," he said from Lakewood Ranch, near Sarasota, where Great Burial Reef is based.

The company, which Rew started with half a million dollars, offers customers the chance to buy a maple urn made by artists in New Mexico to hold a person's cremated remains. The urns are placed into a specially made concrete "reef" in 35 feet of water 2 miles west of Sarasota, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rew said that he had obtained all the necessary permits to install the reef.

Each reef, rendered waterproof with a sealant used on battleships, has two niches for two urns.

From a chartered boat, people with urns containing the remains of loved ones, including pets, can watch as scuba divers anchor the urns into place.

The cost: $7,500 an urn, or $9,800 for two urns in one reef.

"This provides a permanent, tasteful alternative for those who want to be buried in nature's cemetery," Rew said.

The first reef will be lowered into the water by a barge in March.

Rew said an urn containing the remains of his father, who died in 2006 in a car accident at the age of 49, would be the first placed in it.

Over time, Rew has plans for more than 120 individual concrete reefs to be placed together in a starfish pattern.

Rew, who comes across as soft-spoken and thoughtful, seems a far cry from the Masters of the Universe types that run Wall Street's trading desks.

"My father passing away was the catalyst, and it made me start reflecting," he said. "There's nothing more peaceful than being buried at sea."

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