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Investment banks rally after US disaster

US SPECIAL - Investment banking groups, many of whom had offices within the World Trade Centre in New York, have released statements of sympathy to the relatives of colleagues still missing in the aftermath of yesterday’s horrific terrorist attack, as well as updates on the well being of their employees.

Most firms have also sought to reassure clients that business has not been unduly disrupted and issued help-lines for both worried relatives and friends, along with information lines for clients.
A number of fund management houses have also suspended trading on some funds.
IPE-Newsline brings together the maximum amount of information available at this time:

Franklin Templeton’s Fiduciary Trust had offices on several floors of Two World Trade Centre and Charles B. Johnson, Chairman of Franklin Templeton has extended his deepest sympathy to the thousands of people affected by what he called an act of incomprehensible brutality.

“Our greatest concern at this time is for the safety and well-being of Fiduciary and Franklin Templeton employees who may have been in the building. Our first priority is to contact those employees and their families.”

Fiduciary offices have activated their disaster recovery plan and have moved operations to a New Jersey office. More information is available on 1-800-DIAL-BEN® and Fiduciary clients may hear a recorded update by calling 1-800-632-2350 ext. 21200.

Dow Jones has said there are no reports of any serious injuries or fatalities among its employees, but stressed that information remains fragmentary and preliminary. The Dow Jones News Service and WSJ.com continue to operate.

Aon Corporation, who had 1,100 employees working in the second Trade Centre tower, has said its thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected by yesterday’s tragedy. Aon says the amount of information it has remains limited due to the scope of the tragedy, but that it will try to provide updates as more news becomes available.

Aon has set up the following numbers: New York Employees and their Families should call 866.256.4154; a counselling hotline is available on 888.437.3815 while Aon employees from outside New York should call 866.946.4357 for updates.

Allianz who had almost 300 employees in either the World Trade Centre or neighbouring buildings has said that all were evacuated and are safe. “This is a terrible tragedy and we strongly feel for all those affected by it. At least we know by now that our people were rescued in time. Of course we will fulfil all our obligations as an employer and an insurance company,” said Herbert Hansmeyer, member of the Board of Management of Allianz.

Allianz has established hotlines- general information is available on +1.800.843.3863 in the US or +49.800.1122776 internationally and in case of urgent claims, clients and agents can call +1.800.486.6380.

Allianz Group member Dresdner Bank has set up an account for donations by the group’s employees and it will also donate a relief fund of one million US Dollars to the victims.

Salomon Smith Barney employees were successfully evacuated from 7 World Trade Center prior to its collapse at 5:00pm. The group has apparently implemented a disaster recovery plan for its affected businesses and is currently fully operational. Further information is available at www.salomonsmithbarney.com

Jacques-Philippe Marson at BNP Paribas Securities Services says the firm is shocked and saddened by the terrible events in the US. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this terrible tragedy.”

Marson says they will endeavour to keep clients informed and that they will make every effort to meet with the liquidity requests of US clients whenever this may be needed.

ABN AMRO Asset Management has decided to suspend temporarily the issuance and redemption of shares of many of its funds listed in Amsterdam and Luxembourg. Trading of the funds will resume when markets normalise and it is possible to establish a fair market value.

Robeco Group has decided that for the time being it will not issue bid and offer prices for Robeco Group investment funds, noting that is impossible to determine a well-founded net asset value while stock exchanges, including Wall Street, are closed.

Speaking to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, ECB President Wim Duisenberg also expressed his deep sympathy with the relatives of yesterday’s victims. He told MEPs that the ECB had been in contact with other central banks and that it was ready to support the normal functioning of the markets and relevant operational systems “if the need arises”. He said it was too early to assess the impact of yesterday’s tragedy on Europe’s financial markets but that the ECB Governing Council will meet tomorrow to discuss the situation.

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