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Merrill Lynch management was alarmed when they were alerted of a confirmed coronavirus case in their building at 555 California Street in San Francisco late yesterday. So concerned that management affected a late evening conference call and decided on a communication plan to seek to calm essential staff and advisors at the location several floors underneath Wells Fargo.

As advisors and staff made there way to their offices this morning they were met with an email communication describing the situation. Specifically working through ‘work from home’ policies, CDC recommended precautions, and a link to a CDC statement giving the building an ‘all clear’.

For some that was enough to ease their concerns, but for others, they don’t believe they can be too careful. A source we spoke to at the firm that described the memo was one that is taking extra precautions and working from home until the threat of the virus has passed in earnest.

Here is what he had to say about the last 48 hours:

“This whole thing is scary from a bunch of different angles. Beyond the obvious health risks, and the reality that most of us in this profession are at an advanced age and at greater risk for serious complications, you have the markets at full tilt to the downside, and nobody is sure what ‘peak coronavirus’ is actually going to be. Having a confirmed case in this building – no thanks, I’m staying home. Wells Fargo could’ve done a better job of alerting the entire building from a public safety standpoint. Pretty shitty of them. Caution should rule the day.”

Merrill moved quickly, though we’ve been tipped off that both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs offices in the same location are preparing memos as well. As soon as we either here about or are sent a copy of them we will get them to you as quick as possible. Developing.

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