SIFMA’s priority, on behalf of our members and the clients they serve, is to keep markets operational, resilient and efficient. The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has been unsparing in its impact around the globe. Beyond the direct and severe impact to health and wellness, how we live and work has changed in ways many would have considered unthinkable, including market operations. Business continuity planning, cybersecurity and operational resilience remain among the top agenda items in board rooms across the industry.
Business Continuity PlanningThe financial services sector is critical infrastructure as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Its assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are so vital to the U.S. that their incapacitation or impairment would have a debilitating effect on national and economic security and public health or safety. Now more than ever, amidst a global health crisis and with cyberattacks an ever-increasing risk, business continuity planning and constant testing and preparedness is essential. On behalf of our members, SIFMA plays a crucial role in helping coordinate the financial industry’s business continuity planning (BCP) efforts.
SIFMA continues to closely monitor COVID-19 and its impact on the financial industry and the capital markets. The very pandemic scenario the industry contemplated in 2007 – and which has been used in business continuity planning exercises since – became real-world reality in 2020. When public health officials instituted mass closings, the industry was ready and SIFMA had a playbook to follow. From the outset of this crisis, SIFMA arranged coordination amongst financial firms, exchanges, industry utilities, regulators, government agencies and public sector emergency coordinators. Firms activated response protocols all while managing historic trading volumes. Despite significant obstacles, the industry kept the markets open and running, continued to serve and advise clients, and ensured timely clearance and settlement activities. This effort should provide confidence the industry can successfully navigate future turmoil or uncertainty, be it a natural disaster, health crisis, social unrest or otherwise.
Principles for Operational Resilience
Operational resilience is extremely important for the public and private sectors to maintain confidence in the financial industry and to support financial stability and economic growth. The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the Federal Reserve will pursue a principles-based approach to operational resilience. SIFMA and our partners at the Global Financial Markets Association will continue to work with global standard setters as they develop the principles and also work towards global coordination and alignment among policymakers and supervisors on related policy outcomes, terminology and supervisory approaches.
CybersecurityCybersecurity has been and remains a top priority for the financial services industry to ensure the security of customer assets and information and the efficient, reliable execution of market operations. Risk is heightened during times of uncertainty, including a global pandemic. An effective and efficient cybersecurity policy is achieved most easily through harmonized, risk-based global standards that leverage extensive investments already made. SIFMA is actively engaged in coordinating the effort to support a safe, secure information infrastructure, with cybersecurity resources which provide security of customer information and efficient, reliable execution of transactions. SIFMA continually works with industry and government leaders to identify and communicate cybersecurity best practices for firms of all sizes and capabilities and educate the industry on evolving threats and appropriate responses.
COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
Initial Lessons Learned and Considerations for Managing a Global Pandemic
SIFMA and Protiviti discuss the range of issues and events accentuated by the global coronavirus pandemic and the financial industry’s multifaceted and effective response thus far. This report identifies key lessons learned to date from managing this crisis, weighing the benefits and disadvantages of various responses and approaches, and provides key considerations that should be top of mind for business leaders as they strategize over how to build resilience and thrive in this new environment.
Return to Office: Considerations for the Financial Industry
In consultation with member participants, SIFMA has developed general, common considerations for financial firms as they plan for returning staff to the office to resume “normal operations” following the global coronavirus pandemic. The data collected to develop these considerations is the result of a survey of 60 firms and financial utilities which represent a broad cross-section of the financial services industry including GSIBs, regional brokerages, retail and institutional firms, asset managers and service providers.
Markets TestedA Timeline for COVID-19
A Timeline of Major Regulatory Events