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5 Disaster Recovery Steps for Advisors After Sandy
Financial advisors on the East Coast have solid reasons to be worried about Hurricane Sandy – and even those far from the wreckage should be concerned, too.

Advisors’ and clients’ safety rank first, but advisors also have to be concerned about their offices and property, as well as those of their clients’ and their clients’ relatives. As vital as proper insurance coverage is, it often will not cover all losses, nor losses from the disruption of business.

How prepared are you and your firm to deal with a major disaster, like Sandy? Far too many advisors have no disaster recovery plan to rely on for times like this.

Here are 5 questions to consider regarding you, your firm and your clients after the worst of the hurricane strikes.

(Photo Credit: Mason Braswell, from Coney Island, October 28, 2012)
1. Assess your risk – both internally and externally.
If your business is in an area subject to specific weather patterns, is there another location you can move to?
Does your building or area have a history of power outages? If another office in your building were to have an extreme issue such as a flood or fire, would that interrupt your business? What could result from a process of system failure if your computers are compromised?
2. Assess your critical business functions.
What functions are critical to your day-to-day operations?
The answer, most likely, is trading, customer service and other operational tasks. If entire trading networks, such as the U.S. stock exchanges, are closed, your clients would be on a more level playing field. Can employees handle some operations from home, presuming their homes are not affected? Can work be done by another employee if one is missing for a day or a week?
3. Prepare your supply chain.
When possible, contact your vendors and suppliers about their recovery plans.
Are alternate vendors available? Do you have a list of all your personal property with serial numbers, model numbers, etc., and estimated value?
4. Implement an emergency management plan.
Where will everyone from your office meet and who will need to meet?
Create a calling tree so the responsibility of initial emails or phone calls is distributed. Prioritize who you want to contact: employees, clients, your broker-dealer, vendors, supplier, etc.
5. Relocate to an alternate location.
If you can no longer go to the office, where will you go?
Is there enough room at the advisor’s house? Will all employees work remotely? Are they set up to be able to do so? Plan A might be to stay at an advisor’s house for short-term interruptions, but you should also have Plan B if you will be displaced for a longer period of time.