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Franklin unit rebuilds after 9/11 tragedy
In a few seconds, Anne Tatlock's job turned from the daily grind of wealth management to a fight for the survival of Fiduciary Trust Co. International.
But five months after terrorists turned a jetliner into a fireball that swept through Fiduciary's World Trade Center headquarters -- leaving 87 employees among the nearly 2,900 dead -- the subsidiary of San Mateo-based Franklin Resources Inc. has quietly taken care of its own while rebuilding its business.
For Tatlock, Fiduciary's chairman and CEO, that's meant finding a new home for the firm, overseeing the recovery of computer files from a backup system, and keeping its ultra-rich clients on board while it navigates them through uncertain market conditions. It's also meant filling 87 key jobs -- among them a director of human resources, the chief corporate lawyer, a senior vice president and other vice presidents -- and providing assistance for those victims' families.
"Our goal was not to hire 87 exact people," Tatlock said, "because those people do not exist."
Quiet road to recovery
Deliberately, Fiduciary Trust's leaders have been hesitant to speak publicly about the events of Sept. 11. But the result is a new bonding under the Franklin umbrella, and industry publication Global Money Management will honor Fiduciary in London this month for the strongest post-Sept. 11 recovery effort.
"It brought people much closer together," Franklin Chairman and CEO Charles B. Johnson said about the response.
Only five months before the attacks, mutual fund firm Franklin bought Fiduciary -- a 70-year-old asset manager catering to high-net worth clients and institutional investors -- for $825 million.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Tatlock herself had just arrived with a small group of business leaders at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha for a charity event hosted by Warren Buffett. She then heard the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center's north tower.
Fiduciary's offices, spread among the 92nd through 97th floors of the south tower, typically at that time would be filling with the firm's 650 employees. But workers had started making their way to ground level after the first plane struck the neighboring structure.
Moments later, back in Omaha, a television picture flashed on a large screen, and Tatlock witnessed the second plane plowing into the south tower.
"There on the screen, I saw the second plane crash into my office," Tatlock recalled.
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