Morgan Stanley COO Jim Rosenthal spoke with Bloomberg Television’s Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker on Market Makers Monday about the bank’s preparations for Hurricane Sandy and contingency plans for employees and clients.
Rosenthal on Morgan Stanley’s plans for Hurricane Sandy
'The weather has affected a little over 20,000 of our employees in the area. We’ve invoked our business continuity plans. We did that yesterday. Those plans provide for business essential personnel to come in to the buildings that are operating. They provide for remote computing by a large number of our employees and they apply a transfer of functions out of the affected area when and where that becomes essential. We’ve got three layers: business essential personnel working out of our facilities…we’ve got more than 15,000 employees remote computing. We’ve got transfer capabilities out of the region, primarily to London at this point'.
On how important London is right now
'London is very important. In London we have backup trading capabilities for all of our businesses. At this point we have not had to transfer trading out of New York to London, but we’ve had people on site in London prepared since yesterday to do that if and when it becomes necessary'.
On whether it helps that Morgan Stanley’s headquarters is in Midtown vs. Lower Manhattan
'Of course it helps, but for all firms, we all have plans that provide for headquarter facilities or any other facilities being rendered inaccessible. In our case, we are able to use 1585 Broadway because it is in Midtown, but in the event that we were not able to, it would not affect our operation'.
On activity today
'We are open for business on both the retail and institutional side. The U.S. equity markets are you know are closed; however the U..S fixed income markets are open until noon, so we are transacting business in fixed income in the U.S. The levels of activity are lower than usual today, but we have a three tiered way of serving clients. It’s not so much a volume issue. We want to be a full-service firm, able to serve our clients at all times. That being said, a large number of our employees actually live close to the New York location headquarters and close to the Westchester location. We were able to preposition some business essential personnel into hotels, but a lot more are frankly able to walk to work. We are encouraging employees to stay home for safety reasons unless they are business essential personnel'.
On how long he expects Morgan Stanley to operate in this manner
'In terms of what we are prepared for, we’ve got business continuity management plans that we refresh and practice once a year that provide for ability to operate for an indefinite period of time out of any location in the world or around that location in the event that access is limited for a prolonged period of time. There is no time limit on our ability to function. That being said in terms of the actual event in New York, at this point it looks like tomorrow will be as impacted as today. Beyond that, I don’t have a particularly better ability than you to forecast'.
image: © John Mitchell