7 Wall Street Institutions Slammed By Hurricane Sandy
7. The New York Stock Exchange
As Hurricane Sandy barreled towards the East Coast on Sunday October 28, the exchange, located directly in the superstorm’s path, was locked in a battle of wills with trading firms over whether to open at all on Monday.
NYSE created an emergency response team, with 30 staff members sleeping at the Lower Manhattan headquarters. The exchange said it was planning to open on Monday as an electronic-only trading venue for the first time. But dealers trading shares were highly skeptical of the plan, according to Reuters. The system was unproven, and employees might not be able to get to work safely, they feared. Further, the electronic systems may have had to handle more than double the volume it had averaged in recent weeks. Given the number of high-profile electronic glitches the markets have experienced in the last few months, that was a prospect that made market participants particularly nervous.
Late on Sunday night, the NYSE and exchanges including Nasdaq OMX and CME Group finally decided to close the market on Monday. The Big Board remained closed on Tuesday, in what was to be its longest shut down due to brutal weather conditions since 1888.
On Tuesday, with stacks of sandbags still protecting its entrance and running on back up power, NYSE conducted trial runs with financial firms to detect potential bugs. “Right now there are a lot of connectivity problems,” Larry Leibowitz, the chief operating officer of the NYSE Euronext, told the New York Times on Tuesday.
Some trading firms with damaged data centers, he said, encountered problems connecting to NYSE’s systems. One nearby building that houses several firms, Leibowitz said, sustained significant damage that could harm their ability to operate.