Merrill is responsible for creating and maintaining business continuity plans for all of its businesses. In the event of a business disruption, we have plans designed to allow us to continue operations of critical business functions, such as entering of client orders, completing securities transactions and providing clients access to their cash and securities. We accomplish this in part by:
- Relocating impacted businesses to designated recovery locations.
- Using redundant processing capacity at other locations.
- Designing our technology and systems to support the recovery processes for critical business functions.
- Using business and technology teams that are responsible for activating and managing the recovery process.
- Adopting a communication plan to ensure that Merrill employees receive emergency notifications and instructions via a variety of sources, including in-building announcements, telephone contact, toll-free phone numbers and websites.
- Rehearsing our recovery procedures and testing those procedures on a regular basis.
As part of our plans, Merrill has identified the applications that are critical to each of our business divisions. These applications are to be implemented in separate production and recovery data centers using industry-standard practices to copy data from the production site to the recovery site in real time. In most cases, recovery times will range from nearly instantaneous to approximately four hours. For some business functions, next-day recovery is projected.
With regard to client assets, nearly all market-traded securities are held in central depositories, such as the Depository Trust and Clearing Company, rather than in physical certificate form. Ownership of the securities is reflected on a book-entry record-keeping basis, with the depositories’ participants, such as Merrill, maintaining on their records the beneficial ownership positions of their customers. This structure is recognized worldwide as providing investors with an unsurpassed level of liquidity and security for the assets they choose to custody with major financial institutions.
As a premier financial service firm, we take our commitment to our clients very seriously and participate globally in various industry-level discussions regarding business continuity planning under the auspices of industry organizations. Participation in these types of forums increases our ability to proactively recognize and manage business disruption risks and coordinate recovery efforts across the financial service industry.
In the event of a disruption, you will be able to receive information about your accounts and instructions on how to gain access to your funds by calling your Financial Advisor or the toll free number listed on your account statement.
Although we have taken significant steps to develop and implement sound business recovery plans, we cannot guarantee that systems will always be available or recoverable after a disaster or significant business disruption. However, we believe that our planning for such events is robust and consistent with many of the best practices established within the industry. Any material changes to the above information will be available on our Web site or upon request.