In Resurrecting the Street: How U.S. Markets Prevailed After 9/11, industry veteran Jeff Ingber tells the story of how government and industry officials dealt with the greatest operational crisis in financial history, one that killed key officials, destroyed critical data and crippled many financial firms. After more than 100 interviews with insiders, he describes in the book how the securities market was able to get back up and running.
Ingber worked a half-mile from the World Trade Center ten years ago for a small company with a very big and very important role in keeping markets moving. As general counsel for the Government Securities Clearing Corporation, he was responsible for helping to settle trades on Wall Street at the end of every day.
"If you cannot safely move money against securities in a guaranteed way so the parties have confidence if they do the trade, the results will be there -- then trading halts," he tells The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task in the accompanying interview.
After the events of 9/11, that confidence was lost and there was a four-day halt in trading before the New York Stock Exchange was back up and running.
There were many heroes that helped make this a reality. Dick Grasso, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guilliani were at the forefront and became the face of the Street's revival.
But many others behind the scenes helped resurrect Wall Street and deserve a great deal of gratitude and recognition as well, says Ingber. First and foremost, the policemen, the fire fighters and the emergency rescue workers and also the unsung heroes: the people who lived and worked in Manhattan's financial district and industry.
"[There was] enormous resolve by market participants to get back into business, to not let the terrorists win," he says. "People went through a lot of trauma. People were searching for relatives…. People had fears for their safety. But they stayed. They did their job. They went about their roles with professionalism. In that way I think there were many quite heroes, if you will, of 9/11."
Ten Years Later: How Wall Street Has Changed
The events of September 11th accelerated a number of technological advancements in the financial industry in the area of telecommunications and data security, says Ingber. But perhaps more significantly is how 9/11 drastically changed the way firms plan for disasters.
"Contingency planning is becoming much more important than operational risk, much more significant to firms," say Ingber. "9/11 accelerated the movement out of Manhattan by firms it also created a new way of looking at contingency planning. Firms understood that they could not longer have back up sites near headquarters or key people concentrated in one area."
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