Hurricane Sandy took a physical toll on New York City, but a joint meeting of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on the topic of disaster recovery, proved that it’s not just physical damage that companies are worried about.
Hurricane Sandy, which touched down in New York City on October 28th and 29th, disrupted several equities and options markets. On August 16th, 2013, officials from these regulatory giants met to discuss further improvements that can be made to stem the effects another natural disaster may have on the financial systems. Based on their discussion, they proposed a three point best practices of disaster recovery which is posted on the CFTC website.
The first point of their “Business Continuity Planning” paper is “Widespread Disruption Considerations,” which advocates that firms that might be affected by power outages, etc., take any natural disaster into consideration. Certain issues became very apparent during Hurricane Sandy, such as lack of remote access, which relies on internet and phone communication.
The second part of their three point continuity plan is the “Alternative Locations Considerations” which recommends that equities and options firms take precautions by thinking of a potential secondary location that won’t be disrupted in case of a ‘regional’ outage, such as was witnessed during Sandy. This section includes important issues such as power generators, staffing, adequate resources and shuttle services. Lastly, the committee advocates evaluating vendor relations, including services such as settlement, banking and finance.
A full version of the “Business Continuity Planning” can be found on the CFTC website.