Lehman to move main New York ops into one office

Mark De Gennaro, global head of foreign exchange in New York, said the building was an ideal purchase for Lehman, despite having been built to specification for Morgan Stanley. "The building was designed to have large trading floors. It's perfectly suited for us," he said. Morgan Stanley sold the building, which has been under construction since 1999, for a reported $700 million.

Despite losing its 22 floors of office in the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, Morgan Stanley decided to sell the new building because of its close proximity to another of its premises at 1585 Broadway. Morgan Stanley wanted to spread its trading and backup facilities across the city so they are not reliant on the same transportation and power infrastructures. Morgan Stanley - formerly the largest tenant in the World Trade Center - is now leasing alternative office space at several New York locations.

The move into the 'state of the art' building will come as a welcome relief for Lehman Brothers' foreign exchange trading staff, who have been working from the firm's back-up centre in New Jersey since the destruction of Lehman's offices in and around the World Trade Center on September 11. Investment banking staff currently working in a midtown hotel - the Manhattan Sheraton - will also welcome the move, which brings together the whole New York firm.

While some banks - such as Morgan Stanley - have made risk management decisions to avoid keeping staff and resources together in one building in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, De Gennaro said the communication benefits of bringing Lehman together in one physical location is part of the firm's culture and one of its strengths. This is one of the factors behind the decision to move into the Morgan Stanley building, said De Gennaro.

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