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September 30, 2001

A Disaster Report for Lawmakers

By Gregory Bresiger

The main offices of some 30 broker dealers were located in the World Trade Center and about 350 additional had offices in the vicinity of the twin towers. One firm, Cantor Fitzgerald, lost about seven hundred employees but continued to stay open despite the enormous suffering.

Those were some of the grim numbers lawmakers on Capitol Hill heard recently when Robert Glauber, president and chief executive of the National Association of Securities Dealers, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Nevertheless, Glauber said that NASD officials found most firms operating just a few days after the disaster.

"Countless markets and firms - ordinarily the fiercest of competitors - have cooperated like the closest of friends," Glauber told lawmakers. Still, Glauber warned that many firms still have "challenging circumstances" in a struggle to survive. Those that were among the luckiest were the NASD's some 120 clearing firms. Since few of them are located in lower Manhattan, they were the members least affected by the disaster, Glauber said.

The NASD, he noted, has been providing various forms of regulatory dispensations because of the tragedy. Information barrier requirements were temporarily waived. Certain technical rules, such as the three-quote rule, were temporarily suspended. Registered reps fulfilling educational requirements were given an extra 120 days.

"Anyone reapplying to work in the industry that misses the two-year window because of the events will be granted a waiver," Glauber said. "We have negotiated fee returns for test no-shows with Prometric, our testing and continuing education subcontractor," he added.

A spokesman for Nasdaq told Traders Magazine that the World Trade Center housed 25 market makers.