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Unprecedented Attention

In a typical month, before Sept. 11, Connelly said the firm would handle a couple of press stories a month -- not bad for an outfit that manages $16 billion in assets. Since the attacks, Connelly said there have been nearly three dozen stories about the firm. "Obviously there is no comparison," he said.

The burden has been taxing in many ways, but quick thinking and strict policies have kept the focus on recovery, not on publicity, Connelly said. On the night of Sept. 11, senior staff gathered at the firm's Morristown, N.J., offices. The meeting went late into the night. Things were a blur.

Connelly doesn't remember if anybody ate or even if there was coffee. It was a process of deciding how to respond to the day's unthinkable events, then deciding how to communicate those decisions to investors and the industry. "The meeting was, Let's sit here and figure out what we're going to do,' Connelly said.

That night Fred Alger contacted Kekst, a public relations company in Manhattan. The firm, which has been handling a good portion of the press and other communications work, would not comment on its dealings with Fred Alger Management.