Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America Attacked

Financial services firms
cut back in wake of attacks

Brokerage offices devastated
by New York attack

By Rick Daysog

Two of Honolulu's largest stock brokerages curtailed operations in the wake of yesterday's twin-jet terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which toppled the New York high-rise office and crippled the nation's stock exchanges.

Morgan Stanley Inc. -- the state's largest stock brokerage -- closed its five local offices at 2 p.m. in wake of the terrorist attack which knocked out the firm's New York retail offices in the World Trade Center.

Merrill Lynch -- the state's second largest brokerage -- also closed all of its Hawaii offices.

Merrill Lynch's New York headquarters is across the street from the World Trade Center's twin towers.

Paul Loo, senior vice president and branch manager of Morgan Stanley's Hawaii operations, said his company's five local offices closed after 2 p.m. but would reopen today. Morgan Stanley employs about 160 workers in Hawaii.

The brokerage is the World Trade Center's largest tenant. Loo said the Morgan Stanley's top managers yesterday decided to close most of the company 400 retail locations as well as its London offices at Canary Wharf in wake of the terrorist attacks.

Loo said the company did not have an estimate of the casualties involved but noted many of the employees on Morgan Stanley's top floor at the 74th floor were able to get out of the building.

Since the 1993 terrorist bombing which disrupted business at the World Trade Center for nearly a year, Morgan Stanley has implemented a number of emergency procedures, Loo said.

Much of the company's customer records are now stored in several other locations across the country, including New Jersey, Dallas and Salt Lake City.

Loo noted Morgan Stanley's corporate headquarters is elsewhere in New York and was not affected by the terrorist attack.

"Nobody's in great shape," Loo said. "But we're in better shape because we went through this before."

Judith Perry, managing director of Merrill Lynch's Pacific Islands complex, said all of the brokerage's offices worldwide closed yesterday.

Perry noted Merrill Lynch's headquarters are across the street from the World Trade Center.

That building was evacuated earlier today. Perry did not know if any of Merrill Lynch employees were among the casualties.

Local offices were scheduled to reopened today. Merrill Lynch employs about 140 workers statewide.

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