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From the President's Desk: During dark days, NFA endeavors to provide light
In the days immediately following the terrible attack on the World Trade Center, NFA's first concern was the safety of our New York staff. Because the New York office was only a few blocks from the World Trade towers, our staff had to evacuate the area without their laptops, and so were unable to send e-mail through NFA's system telling friends and family, as well as staff at NFA's Chicago location, that they were ok. Fortunately, the entire staff escaped unharmed.
Once all NFA staff in New York were accounted for, we worked diligently to find out how our Members were doing and see what NFA could do to assist them. Although the futures markets opened within days following the tragedy, NFA knew that many of its Member firms would need relief. With many modes of communication in disarray and NFA's office unavailable due to its proximity to Ground Zero, NFA worked around the clock to contact Members in whatever way they could, calling from their homes and cell phones, and sending e-mails to those Members whose phone lines were down. On October 15, our staff moved to a temporary office space in midtown Manhattan, allowing them to all work from the same location.
One of NFA's main goals was to concentrate on our FCMs, independent IBs and CPOs because we were concerned about their capital positions and the customer funds that they held. Within days, virtually 100 percent of these registration categories were contacted.
We felt it was extremely important at that time to let futures investors know that NFA was available to answer their questions and address their concerns. We established a toll-free hotline for public investors in the futures markets to get information in the aftermath of the tragedy and the resulting effect on the financial markets. We also added investor information to our web site, so that concerned investors would have someone to contact if they were anxious about their accounts, and we helped draft a relief notice with the CFTC that helped to make a difficult time a little less stressful for our Members.
NFA was involved in spreading the word about President Bush's Executive Order on terrorist financing that was signed on September 23, enabling firms to search for accounts used to fund terrorist activities. The order effectively freezes the U.S. assets of, and blocks U.S. transactions with, 27 individuals and organizations. Immediately upon the order's issuance, the CFTC distributed notice of the individuals and organizations identified to the futures industry through NFA, in addition to other organizations and exchanges, and NFA, in turn, forwarded the order to all of our Members.
NFA also assisted in distributing the FBI's list of people under investigation in connection with the attacks. NFA informed Members about the CFTC request that all futures-related entities voluntarily check their records for any information concerning the individuals or organizations named in the executive order and the FBI's list.
These are all small steps, to be sure. But in the wake of this tragedy we have learned that the little things done by everyday people can sometimes have the greatest effect.