The trains are down! The electricity is down! Flights are cancelled, a giant beach ball is rolling the streets, and wheelie bins are strewn across the country like fallen idols. But the City of London is still at work.
Despite the cancellation of some train services running into London until at least 11am this morning as a result of the hurricane force ‘St. Jude Storm’ in the UK, banks informed us that it was business as usual in the City this morning.
Deutsche Bank, Barclays, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley all said there had been no special guidance issued to staff as a result of the storm and that things were proceeding just as they would on any normal Monday morning.
“No one’s said anything to me internally about the weather,” said the spokesman for one European bank. “I’m looking out across the floor and everyone seems to be here.”
“We’re treating it as a normal day,” said a spokesman for a US bank. “It’s fine once you get on the underground,” he said. “There are no issues at all.”
Last year, Hurricane Sandy forced Wall Street to shut down for two days, but the UK storm seems to have been a non-event by comparison – the scattering of leaves and sticks across footpaths being a benign outcome compared to the severe flooding of Lower Manhattan.
People commuting into the City from outside London might be inclined to disagree that things are 100% fine. South West Trains, which runs a popular commuter network to the south west of London, advised people not to travel and said it would be running no trains until 11am. Virgin Trains said it was running no trains from Euston to Milton Keynes, and First Great Western declared disruption to some services, including the line from London to Oxford (making it just as well that Hector Sants wasn’t commuting today).
At least one Goldman employee wasn’t in today as a result of the storm. “A lot of people are working from home today,” said a GS insider. “The trains were all cancelled until 10am.”