Among those affected, the main trouble spots were in Northern Jersey, Pennsylvania, and lower Manhattan, where the firm had a 3rd floor office that was in flooded areas. According to Chris Munafo, head of private client group administration, the firm is focused on finding ways to make sure those advisors are able to work remotely from home or at a nearby branch.
“We’re doing that now [communicating with financial advisors] and making sure that everybody has a place to work who can’t be working at home,” Munafo said in a phone interview.
Munafo expected that many transportation issues in the North East would be resolved as highways and public transportation open back up and speed restrictions are limited, so only a “small handful” of offices will be closed come Wednesday morning. Sheila Shaffer, who works out of Washington D.C. and closed early on Monday, is expected to be back up and running, he said. Those firms also remotely turn off power early to prevent a power surge that could make it difficult to come back online later.
“We seem to be in pretty good shape now for business as usual,” he said.
For advisors who cannot get into their offices and are stranded powerless at home, Munafo said that the firm’s “buddy branch” system would automatically redirect client calls to an operating branch out of the affected area.
“I think the most important thing now is to identify those folks who can’t work from home and can't work from a branch location to make sure their clients are properly served,” he said.
Advisors so far have been in touch with clients, but there have not been any reports of safety issues or significant property damage. “Thank goodness,” Munafo said.
The only issue is that a number of clients may have houses in the Jersey Shore that they may not have been able to access yet. Munafo hopes that he will be able to survey the area by next weekend.
“I’m sure that will be a different story once that information is revealed,” Munafo said.
Otherwise, Munafo said that advisors were busy conducting portfolio reviews and doing insurance reviews related to financial planning to make sure clients are set once the storm clears.