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FSA orders banks to reassess flu contingency planning

01 May 2009  |  6399 views  |  0 london tower bridge

The Financial Services Authority has called on UK financial services firm to assess their contingency plans in light of the recent outbreak of influenza in Mexico and subsequent alerts from the World Health Organisation.

The watchdog says it is already contacting the 'high impact' firms including infrastructure providers that it regulates to establish whether the influenza outbreak is affecting any aspects of their business.

In 2007 the FSA urged the sector to re-evaluate contingency strategies after a planning exercise found that increased staff absences could lead to branch closures and empty cash machines.

The mock excercise, which involved the UK's Tripartite authorities and ran for six weeks, found that absence rates at financial firms could top 60% in some business units in the event of a pandemic.

In Mexico, the source of the current outbreak, the country has instigated a five-day shutdown of parts of its economy in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

China has also confirmed its first case, taking the tally of nations hit to 14. However, preliminary analysis by scientists suggest that the virus is a relatively mild strain snd nowhere near as dangerous as the feared H5N1 bird flu strain.

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