The devastation resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has prompted many advisors to revisit their disaster preparedness plans, but even those with good plans in place should rigorously test them in a real-world manner, suggests Dan Skiles, Schwab Institutional's VP of Technology.
One of Katrina's lessons, he says, is that in an emergency you may have to operate from another site not just for hours, but for a much longer time. Take the staff to the backup site and do business from there for days or even weeks, Skiles recommends, opening new accounts and figuring out where staff will stay. You may want to form some quid pro quo arrangements with other firms well outside your geographical area, he suggests, so that you will have an office to work from, and the other firm will have the same should either of you be kept from your office for an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, the planning community continues to provide help for consumers and colleagues affected by the storms. The Financial Planning Association clearinghouse at www.FPAreliefcenter.org lists offers of living and office space for displaced planners, consulting help from Moss Adams, and other recovery resources.--James J. Green