GFI’s Backup Systems Cover Customers as Volumes Remain Low

GFI Group Inc., the broker that matches trades between Wall Street dealers, closed its New York office because of effects from Hurricane Sandy, covering customers from back-up venues amid lower volume.

GFI can’t use its office on the higher floors of its headquarters at 55 Water Street in lower Manhattan because the basement levels flooded and power supply has been interrupted, the company said today in a statement. New Jersey and London computing centers are “unimpaired,” leaving electronic systems that match buyers and sellers and those that combine electronic and telephone trading functioning as usual, GFI said.

“The operations of many of our customers have been similarly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and GFI expects that trading volumes in many of the U.S. markets that we serve will be affected for several days,” the company said in the statement.

The New York region is recovering from Sandy, the Atlantic superstorm that killed at least 50 people, sparked a fire that destroyed 111 homes, flooded tunnels of the biggest U.S. transit system and left millions of customers in the Northeast without power. The storm forced the New York Stock Exchange to close for two days, with NYSE Euronext shutting markets across every asset class for the first consecutive closings because of weather since 1888.

Stymied Trading

The storm stymied bond-trading, with volume of 1,525 trades of $1 million or more as of 1:09 p.m. in New York. That compares with a daily average of 4,319 during the three months before the storm, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommended a close of noon Oct. 29 and no opening yesterday of U.S. fixed-income markets as Sandy approached the East Coast.

GFI, which has dropped more than 25 percent this year, fell 2 percent to $3 as of 1:07 p.m. today in New York.

Standard & Poor’s, the world’s largest provider of credit-ratings, is in the same building. S&P’s headquarters are closed and “operations normally handled there are being done from other locations,” the unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. said on its website.

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