Pension plan executives and money managers on the East Coast were shaken but not stopped by the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday afternoon.
“Our offices are open. We are here,” said Jeanne Chenault, spokeswoman for the $54.9 billion Virginia Retirement System, Richmond, which was 35 miles from the epicenter. “Obviously, it interrupted their workday, but now people are back at their workstations and we are open for the business for the rest of the day.”
Bill Schultz, a managing director at Richmond Capital Management, said the effect on their workday was minor. “In fact, we're in a two-story building so there wasn't any damage of glass breaking or windows shattering or anything like that. Just the cell phones were out because I guess of all the extra traffic. That was the biggest effect.”
Mercer spokeswoman Stephanie Poe said workers in Mercer's Washington office felt the quake, but work was not interrupted.
“I heard a rumbling and then it intensified and everything shook,” she said. “It dawned on me this has to be an earthquake. It was like Godzilla rising out of the Potomac.”
Marc Hopkins, a spokesman for the PBGC, said the agency's office evacuated after the earthquake and some employees took unscheduled leave for the remainder of the day.
On the 12th floor, where Mr. Hopkins works, “we could feel the building sway.”
The earthquake was felt as far west as Columbus, Ohio, and as far north as Toronto.
“(It was) a very minor shaking,” said Pamela Hile, spokeswoman for the $26 billion Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System, Harrisburg.
“The quake occurred during many employees' lunch hour, and those who were in the building at the time briefly evacuated as part of our emergency protocol. All employees have since returned,” said Michael Loughran, spokesman for New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, who is investment adviser, custodian and trustee for the $119 billion New York City Retirement Systems.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.