The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has urged every major regulated firm in London to have a comprehensive and robust plan to cope with a disruption to its operations.
Since last year’s terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the FSA has worked to improve its ability to cope with an event that closed its own HQ in Canary Wharf and which threatened the smooth operation of key firms and financial markets in the UK.
While this builds upon the FSA’s longer standing preparations, during the last year the authority has taken additional steps to buttress its contingency arrangements, including the development of its back-up site. It has also begun a series of simulations of emergency events that would interrupt the normal functioning of the financial service sector.
Michael Foot, a managing director at the FSA says: "The FSA, along with the Treasury and Bank of England, has worked closely with the financial services industry to raise standards. Consequently, the ability of key firms and the authorities to respond to a disaster or operational failure has improved markedly over the past year."
He adds: "However, improving business continuity arrangements is an ongoing process requiring leadership from the top and all of those involved are continually looking at ways to up our game. It is important we get it right since London is a major financial centre and any interruption to business here would have an impact globally."
The FSA has also stepped up its assessments of the disaster recovery readiness of the key firms it regulates. The FSA's aim is to ensure that key firms and markets have robust contingency plans, firms and markets can communicate with each other during an emergency, even if some lines of communication are not operational and a quick reaction is possible to any disruption in trading, settlement and payment functions.