Managers preparing for new storm, just in case
By Christine Williamson | November 6, 2012 5:57 pm
Money managers from New Jersey to Maine will keep a close eye overnight on the nasty Nor’easter swirling off the East Coast.
The storm is predicted to produce moderately high winds, rain and a three-foot storm surge sometime Wednesday morning but is unlikely to wreak the level of devastation Hurricane Sandy did last week, so investment companies are remaining vigilant but not pressing the alarm bell.
Most money managers resumed fairly normal business operations toward the end of last week, although Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Financial will continue to operate under the contingency plan because some major facilities remain impaired, said Karen Moore, a spokeswoman, in an interview. Essential personnel will continue to work remotely to keep Prudential’s money management operations working smoothly. Ms. Moore said power has been restored to Prudential’s Newark headquarters.
“As with any weather-related emergency, State Street (Corp.) is monitoring the storm and will enact business continuity procedures if needed,” said Alicia Curran Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Boston-based company, in an e-mail. “This includes enacting work-from-home arrangements and ensuring alternate sites are on standby should we need to transfer work to other locations. At this time we expect to continue business operations without interruption.”
BlackRock (BLK) Inc.’s “East Coast incident management team will be closely monitoring the situation. At this point we are not invoking our crisis response teams but could do so in a manner of minutes if necessary,” said Brian Beades, a spokesman, in an e-mail. BlackRock has several offices in midtown Manhattan.
David Eckert, managing director and head of infrastructure at Neuberger Berman Group said that as with Hurricane Sandy, the firm’s business continuity team, which he heads, has been tracking the storm for some days now. As of Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Eckert said the storm seems more likely to create inconveniences such as longer commutes rather than the major destruction last week’s hurricane caused.
The Neuberger Berman team moved into “phase zero” of emergency planning Tuesday, warning all employees in the firm’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan by e-mail about the storm. The message reminded employees to be ready to work from home if the company invokes the same contingency plan it did for Hurricane Sandy.
That plan identifies critical employees and makes arrangements for them to stay in hotels near the office in advance of the storm.
Other employees who can’t commute into Manhattan will work remotely. All employees can tap into their desktops via a computer system in the headquarters office or two New Jersey data centers. As with Hurricane Sandy, if needed, space will be arranged with temporary office companies for employees without power at home, Mr. Eckert said.