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The horrific events that transpired on Sept. 11 with the destruction of the World Trade Center shocked America's people but also shocked the center of America's finances - Wall Street. Brokerage firms became more than just offices with trusted financial advisors. These advisors suddenly became counselors, friends and caring human beings to clients worried about their future and their finances. man missing from World Trade Center

For four days the U.S. economy stood at a standstill while clients frantically tried to reach their advisors with a number of questions - from how the act of terrorism would affect their stock portfolios to the possibility of a huge global recession. Brokers on Wall Street dusted off their clothes and were there for their clients when they needed them most. Grief stricken and in shock, they tried to move on and let the world know business was as usual. One of the brokerage firms personally affected by the attacks in New York was Morgan Stanley.

According to Investment News, Morgan Stanley is "the largest tenant of the trade center complex, with 3,500 employees, had offices on more than 20 floors in the south tower" (Hoffman 3). It was the second building to be hit, but it was the first building to fall. As of two months ago, Morgan Stanley has 40 people missing and a 41 percent drop in quarterly earnings (NY Times, 2001). Steve Galbraith, a Morgan Stanley strategy analyst, noted that the Standards and Poor (S&P) would drop from $51 to $47 this year due to the events (Global Strategy Bulletin,2001). Despite this tragedy, the company's chairman, Phillip Purcell, said it would not affect business. He also stated in a letter printed in several newspaper and magazines articles that "we are a company built on strength. Strength of resources. But even more important, strength of character" (Company News, 2001). sister of man missing

Although Morgan Stanley has suffered a severe decrease in quarterly earnings, it is not alone. Every brokerage firm in the world is feeling the effects of the World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters. Some analysts believe things will get severaly worse economically before they get better, while others believe we have already hit rock bottom. After already spending the past 18 months placating clients whose portfolios have sustained double-digit losses, many advisors have prepared themselves for an increasing amount of worried clients. With so many lives lost, clients worry if they should even be concerned about their portfolios. Many advisors used the four-day shutdown of the world's largest stock exchange as a time to contact their panicky clients through reassuring phone calls, emails and possitive letters about their personal portfolios (Hoffman 19).

To reassure their employees and clients, Morgan Stanley in New York sent press releases to its brokerage firms all over the world on how to handle the tragedy personally and with their clients and other employees. There were 1-800 numbers for employees and clients to call, employee assistance programs that provided counseling for those trying to cope with the tragedy and a Victims Relief Fund where Morgan Stanley committed to match "employees contributions dollar for dollar" (Morgan Stanley Press Releases, 2001). The company valued the importance of its employees, clients, investors and many victims affected by the tragedy. Morgan Stanley's heart was warm and its words were compassionate. man comforting friend

In a full-page advertisement in USA Today's newspaper days after the event, Morgan Stanley gave a profound and fundamental statement. It told the public that Morgan Stanley has not changed and will never change its commitment, prudent counsel or unyielding resolve. It promised to individually secure investor's financial well-being and to counsel all the financial advisors and offices worldwide while giving "strength, courage and ambition as a company and as a people" (USA Today, 2001). To me, this company succeeded in identifying itself with its public and showed honesty and compassion.

Based on my personal research on several brokerage firms, I found that Morgan Stanley had taken all steps necessary to reach all of its constituents. What was its public relations solution? My belief is that Morgan Stanley wanted to let the world know that it was okay financially and that the victims were also okay. Through its several articles in Newsweek, Investment News, The New York Times and several radio and television announcements, Morgan Stanley identified itself as a caring and concerned business. Employees were able to go back to work the following Monday reassured that business would be as usual as it could be, and clients felt secure that their money was safe.


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