Money managers, pension funds and consultants contacted by P&I Daily said they dodged a bullet over the weekend, as Hurricane Irene’s damage was not as great as feared.
Charles Salmans, a spokesman for Mercer, said any challenges on Monday were more a question of “getting to work than any issue once you arrived at our building in Manhattan.” On that score, the company’s Manhattan-based employees faced few obstacles, but disruptions to the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven commuter lines left some employees based in Connecticut working instead out of Mercer’s office in Norwalk, he said.
Parts of New York’s northern suburbs and Connecticut and much of northeastern New Jersey were still without rail service Monday afternoon, with tracks damaged by mudslides, flooding and washouts.
BlackRock’s East Coast offices were “open and fully functional,” spokesman Lauren Trengrove said. “Employee safety is our No. 1 priority. Affected staff was encouraged to make arrangements specific to their situation.”
Ed Munshower, managing director and global head of Citigroup’s tailored portfolio group in New York, is grateful that Irene’s impact was not as severe as anticipated. Still, he says, “it’s not really” back to normal yet. With commuter trains not working, “there is a lot more telecommuting today.”
Mr. Munshower, a board member of the $43.4 million New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, praised rescue workers who stayed behind to help people unable or unwilling to get out of harm’s way.
Some New York area commuters stranded by the storm flocked to local bookstores, cafes and restaurants this morning in search of Internet access after power outages prevented them from working at home.
“I’m trying to make the best of things here,” said John Lauder, an investment management executive at ING Group in New York who was sharing a small table with three other people at a Starbucks Coffee shop in South Orange, N.J. The shop was converted into a makeshift office as commuters stood by and waited for seats and power plugs to become available.
“I’m finding that being a financial services firm, you have a very strict firewall,” Mr. Lauder said. “It’s not easy from here.”
“I would say we have been fairly lucky,” said Marlene Petter, spokeswoman for Delaware Investments in Philadelphia. “Most people have gotten here. There’s a few people who are dealing with issues with their own homes, but the vast majority of people have made it in and we are up and running for business.”
That was echoed by Eric Sumberg, spokesman for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $146.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany. “We are open for business at the state comptroller’s office,” Mr. Sumberg said.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.