Pension funds and money management firms along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida braced for the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan, expected to make landfall Thursday morning. Employers heeded the calls of governors in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, closing Tuesday afternoon so employees could prepare their property and evacuate before the Category Fourhurricane strikes.
Recorded messages or no answers greeted callers to the Pensacola (Fla.) General Pension Retirement Fund, the City of Mobile (Ala.) Police & Firefighters' Retirement Plan, Orleans Capital Management Corp. and the City of New Orleans Employees Retirement System. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans canceled its 50th annual conference, which was scheduled to start in New Orleans on Friday.
Steve Rueb, a trader at Dorsey & Co. in New Orleans, said the firm's offices were closed. He has a late flight booked tonight to Texas, where the firm's remote site is located, and he'll "flip the switch" to move Dorsey's systems to backup when he leaves for the airport. He was not too concerned of the storm "unless we take a direct hit here in New Orleans. It's like a bowl with higher sides and a deep center. If that happens, you're going to find alligators, rats and snakes being washed into every building. We'll be sweeping snakes out the door when we get back in. And then there's the prospect of all that water everywhere as the heat rises the next day (when) there's no air conditioning to be found."