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Market Recovery Information
Washington, D.C., September 16, 2001 The Commission today confirmed that all the nation's securities markets will be open for business on Monday, September 17, 2001. As a result of successful systems tests conducted on Saturday by securities exchanges and various market participants, all equities markets have announced that they will resume normal trading on Monday. The tests, which the Commission monitored, verified that all systems are sound and operational. The Commission is satisfied with the conclusions reached by the stock exchanges and the Nasdaq, and will continue to monitor the systems when trading resumes. The Commission wishes to acknowledge the tremendous cooperation of so many in the private and public sectors throughout this effort.
On Friday, September 14, 2001, the SEC took several actions to minimize any potential market disruptions in connection with the reopening of the markets.
The Commission also announced that it has issued an order granting temporary relief to the American Stock Exchange that permits Amex specialists to function as floor brokers due to space limitations in connection with Amex's relocation of part of its operations.
On Friday, September 21, 2001, the SEC took several additional steps in response to concerns from market participants. Depending on the market situation in the near future and the response of market particpants, further measures may be taken.
Together with the securities industry, we have put together the following information for investors.
If you have additional questions, please call the SEC's investor information line at 1-800-SEC-0330, or use our Questions and Comments Form.
Saving lives has been the single most important mission. Authorities asked that non-essential personnel stay out of the way to allow rescue teams to focus on reaching survivors. Bringing thousands of people close to the rubble of the World Trade Center towers could interfere with those rescue efforts. Accordingly, beginning on Tuesday, traffic was blocked and transit lines closed, making it impossible for people to get to the Wall Street area, where the equity markets are physically located. There also were major physical disruptions in the Wall Street area. Power lines, telephone lines, and computer and data cables all were affected by the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center.
Yes. This is a human and physical catastrophe -- not an economic one. Firms and markets have extensive emergency response plans to ensure that customers and the firms themselves are protected. At this time, records are backed up, reporting systems are functioning, and all the usual protections are in place. Because all airline traffic was halted for several days, mail could not travel from city to city, and communication sent to or from your firm may be delayed. The backlog should be cleared soon.
The most important thing any investor can do is remain calm. Your financial advisor can offer guidance and reassurance. History tells us that major events impact the financial markets only in the short term. It usually pays not to overreact in the midst of significant short-term volatility.
If you are still uneasy, step back and consider the reasons you chose the investments that you chose. Decisions to buy or sell should be based on fundamental issues. In most cases, you will find that those reasons are still valid, and you should not make hasty changes.
All security firms have excellent back-up systems that assure that data related to customer accounts are safe. There are multiple records of transactions, holdings and all account activity. The industry calls these "redundant systems," and they typically are held in several different locations to protect records in case of a fire, flood or other destructive event. Downtown New York is the home of several stock exchanges, the headquarters of several big firms and is considered the center of the financial industry. However, the day-to-day operations of most firms are located in other parts of New York or, more commonly, in other cities. Even if a firm's headquarters are in New York, its records are stored elsewhere.
If you turned over stock certificates to a Wall Street firm, there are records of names, numbers and dates. Even if a piece of paper is gone, the record remains in safe hands.
The computer systems that process and record securities trades are not based in the World Trade Center, so trades made in the hours prior to Tuesday's tragedy already have been recorded in the usual three-day time frame. You may not have yet heard from your firm, because all airline traffic was halted for several days, and mail could not travel from city to city. The backlog should be cleared soon. As usual, you should check your account statements and confirmations and check with your firm if there is anything on them that you do not understand.
Margin policies vary from firm to firm. It is up to your securities firm to establish policies and communicate them to you.
Telephone and computer lines were among the physical casualties of Tuesday's terrorist attacks. While there may be temporary communications difficulties while emergency repairs are made, you may be assured that your firm is doing its best to restore systems and return to normal operations. If you can, wait until infrastructure repairs can be made. The NASDR has a list of contact numbers for securities firms, and they have a toll-free information line for this information as well, 1-800-334-0668.