After blasts, financial firms seek to reopen Boston offices on Tuesday

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 16, 2013 12:06 AM

By Ashley Lau and Ross Kerber

(Reuters) - Financial services firms like Wells Fargo and Loomis Sayles said they are hoping to re-open their Boston offices on Tuesday, but will also allow employees to work remotely as a part of the center of the city is likely to remain cordoned off by authorities investigating twin blasts that ripped through the crowd attending the Boston Marathon.

A 15-block area around Boston's Exeter Street and Boylston Street, which includes offices of several financial services firms and other businesses, was on Monday night still cordoned off as police investigate the explosions. State and city authorities had not made it clear how much of the area would be reopened on Tuesday.

"Boston will be open for business tomorrow, but it will not be business as usual," said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, speaking at the Westin Copley Place hotel in Boston on Monday.

He said the cordoned area may get smaller over the next several hours but will still be largely inaccessible to normal traffic.

Wells Fargo & Co and Old Mutual Asset Management, which evacuated their offices on Monday after the blasts killed three people and injured more than 100, said they were monitoring the situation and would advise employees on changes. Some staff had already been off because of a holiday in the city to celebrate Patriots' Day.

"People were shaken by this," said Dan Fuss, vice chairman and portfolio manager at the Boston-based Loomis Sayles, which oversees $182 billion in assets. "We had a bunch of Loomis people running in the marathon, including a few traders," he said. "Everyone is okay and accounted for."

Fuss said some of the employees at Loomis, which is located at One Financial Center near Boston's South Station, may stay home on Tuesday.

Wells Fargo evacuated some of its Boston-based employees in wholesale, wealth management and technology operations that have offices in the area that was closed off by police after the explosions. A spokesman said late on Monday that the bank would follow instructions from authorities as it decided whether to reopen those offices on Tuesday.

Michael Forrester, chief operating officer of Copper Rock Capital, an investment manager in the John Hancock Tower, near the site of the explosions, said the company sent its 23 employees home at 4 p.m. on Monday after the blasts and after markets closed. Forrester said later on Monday that it was still waiting for directions from local authorities about whether it will be safe for employees to return to work on Tuesday.

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Copper Rock's parent company, Old Mutual, is also based in the Hancock Tower. An Old Mutual spokesman said the office was closed on Monday for the holiday and had only a few employees at work. They evacuated after the explosions.

Old Mutual plans to open on Tuesday since mass transit services, which were closed for a period after the explosions, have been restored, said spokesman Zach Kouwe.

"The building will be adding security to both the main lobby and garages. We will, of course, monitor the situation throughout the night and keep our employees advised of any changes," he said.

Asset manager MFS Investment Management, which has offices less than a mile from the marathon finish line, said it plans to keep offices open on Tuesday, but is encouraging employees to check in with their supervisors.

(Reporting by Ashley Lau and Ross Kerber; Additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Paul Thomasch, Jennifer Ablan and Rick Rothacker; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Matt Driskill)