Tags: Superstorm Sandy | Gasparino | disaster | plan

Gasparino: Wall Street Needs Better Disaster Plan

Friday, 02 Nov 2012 09:34 AM

Wall Street needs to improve the disaster plans rolled out in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Fox Business Network Senior Correspondent Charles Gasparino wrote in a New York Post column.

While Superstorm Sandy shut down Wall Street for two days, markets reopened largely without a hitch.

Many banks have long moved mission-critical infrastructure to safe locations away from Wall Street, though closed markets still mean closed access to financing for many companies, which could bruise the economy should disaster strike again.

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“[W]hat if something worse had hit, a terror attack or some other disaster that meant a more prolonged delay of trading on a major U.S. market? The answer: It won’t be pretty,” Gasparino wrote

“Capitalism doesn’t quite cease without the stock markets in operation, but it comes pretty damn close.”

Not only does a closed Wall Street make access to capital difficult, it also ripples out in that investors around the world are blocked from valuing companies, which takes place daily.

So what would happen if markets were closed for a period of, say, two weeks?

“Big, politically connected outfits like GE could get a bank loan or some sort of federal guarantee to keep their doors open. (GE received such a guarantee after the 2008 financial crisis.) But countless smaller outfits would be hard-pressed to finance their operations; without an active stock market, those companies could start dropping like flies,” Gasparino wrote.

“In fact, those post-9/11 plans should have left the markets able to operate even through Sandy — without putting anyone at risk. In the grim days after the attacks, the big banks and stock exchanges all agreed to set up emergency satellite offices outside the city — where traders could operate so the markets would run as close to normal as possible in case of disaster.”

Markets and many financial institutions were closed Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday when they opened, companies scrambled to raise cash in the money markets, a major source of cash for corporations.

“It showed a bit of stress that everyone was trying to fund themselves,” said Mike Lin, director of U.S. funding with TD Securities in New York, according to Reuters.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

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