Rick DeLotto here again—I am not trying to raise fear, uncertainty and doubt (this time) —just a bit of caution.
I just read a news report that the home of a former executive of a failed European bank was attacked and vandalized by what was described as an “anti capitalist group”. Windows were broken on both his home and vehicles. Recently no less a personage than United States Senator Grassley suggested that certain industry executives apologize and commit suicide as recompense for their alleged misdeeds. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20083.html) While he later claimed this was merely “rhetoric—to make a point” (http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=19837) this seems to have drawn far less press attention than his earlier comments. Predictions of rioting surrounding the upcoming G20 conference are surfacing as well.
While uncommon, incidents such as these are part of a growing trend of both real and threatened violence against bankers, and should be taken seriously by all in the industry, regardless of the financial status of their institution or the high degree of esteem with which—no doubt—it is held by their stakeholders.
Some simple precautions are in order:
Make sure that your emergency notification system is functioning, with multiple contact channels for all personnel. Ensure that all critical and senior staff are aware they need to be “reachable” on a multi-channel basis in case of emergency, and equipped to do so, and available on call.
Investigate equipping highly-visible senior staff with emergency communications devices—either cell phones or personal alert system. Start with visible, public spokesmen, but consider expanding to all staff potentially recognizable by the public.
Check your key man insurance to make sure it is up to date, on the right people, and with a strong carrier.
Make your managers aware that their staff members might be shaken by these events, and concerned for their personal safety, and are aware of your firm’s concerns—and precautions, for their safety.
Long term, check to see if “civil disturbances” are part of your business continuity and crisis communications plans. If not, why not? If the trend continues, more advanced precautions may need to be taken at your branches and offices, including improving surveillance cameras and alarms, hardening approaches, and perhaps adding the ability to “shelter in place” in case of disturbance.