By Aug. 15, in less than 24 hours after the blackout first struck, the New York investment operations of Deutsche Bank in the Americas, AMVESCAP PLC, UBS Global Asset Management, American Express Financial Corp., Banc of America Capital Management, Fred Alger Management Inc. and Prudential Financial - as well as those of hedge fund managers in Connecticut and New Jersey - were running smoothly using either restored or backup power generation.
Parts of the Detroit metro area seemed to be having harder times: Calls placed to several money managers there late Friday morning resulted in no response, from either a live or a recorded voice.
One exception was Munder Capital Management, Birmingham, Mich., where a harried receptionist was answering the only two (analog) phones that were working in the powerless office. But callers could not be transferred to any other Munder employees, nor could anyone call out.
In a statement read by the receptionist, Peter Hoglund, Munder's chief administrative officer, said: "This unprecedented blackout provided us with an unintended, but successful, disaster-recovery exercise. All of our systems are up and running on diesel-generated power at our offsite data center. All critical personnel, including traders and portfolio managers, are engaged in managing our full complement of assets under management. While we look forward to the comfort of our restored electrical grid, we anticipate remaining ... fully functional."
Another Michigan money management firm, Alpha Capital Management, Detroit, also rebounded quickly. "We were able to shut down out computers and take our positions. We've been through this exercise before," said Napoleon Rodgers, managing director. "I drove over here this morning, thinking the building would be dark and locked. It was locked, but all the lights were on and all the televisions were (on). No data was lost, and the computers were still intact. We weathered the storm. We're still here."
Other parts of Michigan had power back on the evening of Aug. 14.
"We lost power shortly after 4:00," said Terry Stanton, public information officer of the Michigan Department of Treasury, Lansing. "When we heard it was part of something larger, we knew we weren't going to get power back and most people left around 5:00, the time we usually leave anyway. The roads were clogged, of course, but everything was orderly. There were a lot of people out directing traffic, not only the police but state officers and normal citizens who just thought it was the thing to do."
The Michigan Department of Treasury resumed normal operations on Friday morning.
AMVESCAP's Toronto office was operating smoothly, albeit powered by diesel generators, since Ontario's power grid still was down at midday Friday, said Doug Kidd, an AMVESCAP spokesman.
Citigroup's Ms. Athridge said she and many co-workers spent the night at friends' houses near the office. "Just like on 9-11, people were helping each other, giving each other food and drinks, but it just wasn't a bad experience."
On Aug. 15, Ms. Athridge, a corporate communications executive at Citigroup, said her company was fully operational after moving to backup systems. Portfolio managers were able to work all day without problems more severe than intermittent incoming telephone service.
Fran Conroy, chief financial officer of Mezzacappa Management LLC, a hedge fund of funds manager located in Rockefeller Center, said the two-mile-walk home that he makes most nights was "just earlier and more crowded" on Aug. 14.
Mezzacappa Management activated its emergency recovery plans and did not experience any disruption. On Friday, Mr. Conroy and John D. Mills, managing director, were the only staff in the office, which had power but no air-conditioning. Since he walked to work on Friday, Mr. Conroy did cut himself a little slack - he wore shorts. Other employees worked from home.