Most advisors are revisiting or in the process of changing their disaster-recovery plans in the wake of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season ever. With one full month to go until the end of the storm season, the National Hurricane Center has moved to using the Greek alphabet to name storms because they have run through the prepared list of names for hurricanes. IA thought it would be useful to Poll readers about how prepared they are to recover from a disaster. Hurricanes are but one–and currently the most visible reminder–of what can happen when physical location, electricity, transportation or communications are disrupted, by whatever cause. Good disaster-recovery planning, while we hope you never have to use it, is literally an investment in the future of your business. Knowing that there is another geographic location in which to continue to practice, where clients can reach you, where there is access to complete records, plans and data, is key. Some advisors who may have had alternative locations in the same state or region as their primary office may be thinking of more geographically-separate back-up locations. Perhaps there are ways for advisors to team-up or form reciprocal arrangements with advisors in a different region, so that they can use one another’s facilities in case of emergency. It may be useful to try out these arrangements–actually going to the other location and working, with staff–for a week or more–to work out any kinks in the system, and resolve them, before a real emergency.

The latest IA Poll asked advisors “How prepared are you to recover from a catastrophe such as Katrina or Rita?” Only 18% of advisors said they were completely prepared. Most advisors, 35%, said they were “prepared but revisiting plan in light of recent events.” An additional 18% said they were “in the process of changing disaster-recovery plans.” Another 12% said they “want more information about what other advisors are doing,” while 18% answered “other” but did not specify what extra steps they were taking to become more prepared. These IA Poll results show that advisors are giving disaster-recovery very serious thought.

The FPA has set up a new Web site for business recovery assistance, (www.fpareliefcenter.org). The site includes links to resources that may give advisors who are modifying their disaster-recovery plans new ideas that can be incorporated into improved recovery plans.

A new IA Poll is currently up on the front page of www.investmentadvisor.com. The Poll asks advisors if they are making a transition to wealth management, and if so, what types of wealth management issues they need to know more about. IA welcomes your participation.