On May 20-21 the NATO summit will take place in Chicago. Financial industry firms and exchanges have braced themselves for potential protests and traffic snarls, and even cyber attacks. While the vast majority of entities will conduct business as usual, off site work plans and contingency and disaster recovery maps have been put into place to ensure it’s business uninterrupted.

Five Minutes With ChicagoFIRST Executive Director Brian Tishuk

Brian Tishuk became the first executive director of ChicagoFIRST in February of 2004. At the non-profit organization – formed in 2003 to help financial firms in the Chicagoland business community to collaborate with one another and government to promote resilience for the organizations – he is responsible for forging a relationship between members and government to promote information sharing about employee safety and business continuity issues. He’s been very busy lately working with the current 31 firm members ahead of the NATO summit to be held in Chicago Sunday and Monday. Despite his schedule, he was able to talk with JLN Managing Editor, Christine Nielsen.

Q: So what is ChicagoFIRST telling members of the Chicago financial community in reference to NATO?

A: What we are doing with members is twofold. We have been providing opportunities since last fall to learn what the city is planning for the event so [members] can put together their security and continuity plan. We have sent out surveys, had related calls and meetings and discussed the surveys for operational plans. Executives like to know what other companies are doing. 

Members are taking several approaches. They are focusing on communication with employees. They want to make sure employees and executives understand what parts of the plan impact them. 

For many firms, some portion of a plan will involve working from home or working from alternate sites. Everybody is operating, though. Some banks will close a branch here or there, but other branches will be open.

It’s being done for a couple of reasons. There will be some disruption in the area, even if there are no protests. There will be motorcades. marches, rallies, etc. that cause concern. This could make it difficult for people to commute. 

Most of the firms have home plans. [With the NATO summit] they will be testing them. A number of firms are looking at this as a good opportunity in that regard. If they have to report to their executives that something nefarious has happened, [having a plan] will put them in a better situation to do so.

Some firms are doing business as usual, but they do have a contingency plan in place.

Q: Is there a specific list of recommendations being made? Were these instructions derived from any similar events in the past?

A: There has been a good deal of experience working from home. Certainly this got a spark when Avian Flu was coming in 2006. They developed work-from-home plans then. The financial regulators also released guidelines at that point, and so most of the members are very well versed in work-from-home plans.

Q: What types of questions have you been getting from members of the community?

A: Aside from planning-type questions, there’s a great deal of interest in knowing what protesters are planning. The protest community is a very fluid one, so some events are known about with very little lead time. We’ve been trying to keep everyone up to speed, watching social media. 

Right now it’s just a matter of being ready to act upon whatever comes their way. Our contribution is having daily communications about this. We’ll be working through the weekend to make sure they get the information they need.  

Q: Will there be a review next week to look at how the plans worked?

A: We’ve spent a good amount of time putting together the planning process. Then you have the event. You look at what succeeded and what wasn’t contemplated that should have been learned. The one thing we have learned during the planning process is that a National Special Security Event is different from a regular emergency because you are dealing with national government as well as local government. 

Q: Is there anything else that members of the Chicago financial community or financial community outside of Chicago should know about preparation for NATO?

A: The preparation has been as robust as it could be. It’s been very collaborative and cooperative. It’s all a go. It looks to be set up well enough to get the information needed in a timely fashion.

A Sample Of Organization Plans 

National Futures Association
The NFA will be open and is allowing employees to telecommute, or if they wish to do so, take a personal day on Monday, May 21.  

Chicago Board Options Exchange
During the week leading up to the summit and immediately after the summit (May 14th through May 22nd):

  • CBOE will operate during normal business hours.
  • There may be times that an individual will not be allowed to leave the building (not more than one hour) or not be allowed into the building without a valid CBOE ID.
  • Casual dress code will be in effect.

NYSE Liffe U.S.
Has a contingency notification and employees have been told that they can work from home on Monday.  The exchange only has business development people in Chicago, no exchange mechanics.

3Points Communications
3Points reports that the firm will be open 24/7/364, but that they have a plan in place where their team can work from home if things “get hairy.”

The Chicago Stock Exchange will be operating under normal business hours, with most departments open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CME Group
Plans to keep all business operations running as normal and trading floors will remain open during normal business hours.

The Options Industry Council and the Options Clearing Corporation will be open during normal business hours.

Guides and Maps

The 2012 NATO Summit
A guide to the world leaders who will be visiting Chicago,

Road Closures Announced
The U.S. Secret Service has announced its plans for road closures and parking changes for the Summit weekend.
From ChicagoNATO.com: http://jlne.ws/JTLqmx
From Chicago Sun-Times: http://jlne.ws/J8F9V0

Follow the Chicago NATO meetings and news on Twitter:

Metra unveils tough rules for NATO weekend
Crain’s Chicago Business

NATO Protest Guide

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Chicago Tribune NATO Coverage Page

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