Just two weeks before Hurricane Sandy barreled up the east coast, leaving behind her a ghostly, flooded and blacked-out Lower Manhattan, Wall Street’s major trade organization, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, held its annual industry-wide disaster-plan drill. On a Saturday in October every year since 2003, SIFMA has convened hundreds of market participants — regulators, utilities, exchanges, market-data vendors and others — to send dummy data to one another’s backup sites to ensure that they can effectively accept orders.

The annual drill was one of many steps Wall Street took after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in an attempt to ensure that the financial epicenter would be able to maintain operations during just about any type of disaster, whether it be a once-in-a-century superstorm or the type of attack that seemed inconceivable on September 10, 2001 but became terrifyingly real the next day.

In the week since the arrival of Hurricane Sandy — which forced U.S. stock markets to close Monday and Tuesday — some say the storm has made it clear that Wall Street still has a ways to go in shoring up its business continuity plans.

“Gotta say, in the era of electronic trading and distributed computing, it's pretty silly that local storm closes stock markets for whole USA,” said Henry Blodget on social media platform Twitter on October 29. Blodget is the former head of the global Internet research team at Merrill Lynch who was banned from the securities industry for lying in his published stock reports and the current editor and CEO of The Business Insider.

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